For months, the American people have heard nothing but empty promises from President Trump and Congressional Republicans. President Trump promised “health insurance for everybody” and just last week, HHS Secretary Tom Price promised that the Republican repeal bill won’t leave any Americans “worse off financially.” But the new estimate from the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) confirms that these empty promises simply are not true.
Speaker Ryan is right when he says that Trumpcare certainly won’t win a “coverage beauty contest”. The American Health Care Act (AHCA) will be a disaster for working families across the country. In fact, it rips coverage away from millions and raises costs for millions more — all so that it can provide hundreds of billions in tax breaks for the wealthy and major corporations.
Trumpcare will immediately rip care away from 14 million Americans who depend on their current coverage to protect their children and loved ones;
That number increases to 24 million uninsured by 2026, due largely to drastic cuts in premium tax credits that will prevent lower-income Americans from purchasing coverage and ending the Medicaid program as we know it.
Trumpcare is not just repealing the ACA, it’s taking us even further backwards.
· By 2026, CBO projects an estimated 52 million Americans will be uninsured – almost 11 million more than before the ACA.
· Trumpcare slashes Medicaid by $880 billion – causing states to end their Medicaid expansions and leading to 14 million fewer people getting help from Medicaid than under the ACA.
· CBO projects the bill will cause fewer employers to offer health insurance and throw 7 million off the employer-sponsored insurance coverage that they’ve relied on for years – creating chaos in the market that covers more than half of all Americans.
· Imposing an age tax on seniors, “substantially raising premiums for older people” in the marketplace – increasing premiums by over $12,000 for the average 64-year-old making $26,500 per year.
· Trumpcare will immediately increase American families’ premiums by 15-20% (CBO report, pg. 3) , putting insurance out of reach for families who need it;
· In later years, Americans will see higher deductibles and other out-of-pocket costs.
Trumpcare is bad for women:
· Not only does the bill make care less affordable and accessible for women, it aims to defund women’s most trusted health care provider, Planned Parenthood.
· The CBO score makes clear that Planned Parenthood is the only target of the repeal bill._ 2.5 million patients are served by Planned Parenthood annually in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
· Defunding Planned Parenthood disproportionately impacts people who already face barriers to accessing care, with 54 percent of Planned Parenthood health centers in shortage, rural or medically underserved areas.
CBO estimates that insurers will benefit from an $80 billion insurance slush fund:
· In total, this legislation will cut over $1.2 trillion in federal health care funding, using Medicaid and the insurance exchanges as a piggy bank to pay for wage and investment tax cuts for the highest income earners and tax cuts for insurance companies, drug companies, and medical device companies.
Trumpcare worsens the opioid epidemic and reduces access to mental health services
· Trumpcare repeals the Medicaid expansion ending coverage for mental health substance use disorder services for millions.
· CBO projects that “fewer than one-third of those enrolled as of December 31, 2019, would have maintained continuous eligibility two years later.”
· And “fewer than 5 percent of newly eligible enrollees” would be eligible for the “higher federal matching rate” by 2024.
Trumpcare caps Medicaid
· According to CBO, with less federal reimbursement for Medicaid, states would have to choose between finding another $880 billion in their state budgets or cut payments to health care providers and plans, eliminate optional services and benefits, restrict eligibility and enrollment, or as the note “to the extent feasible” find other ways to make their programs more efficient.
· This means three things:
o fewer people covered,
o cuts to benefits,
o and reduce access to needed care.
Trumpcare provides a Taxpayer Funded Insurance Bailout
· CBO expects, “the Secretary of Health and Human Services would make payments to insurers on the behalf of most states because most would not have enough time to set up their own programs before insurers had to set premiums for 2018.” As a result, CBO estimates that most states would rely on the federal default program for one or more years until they had more time to establish their own programs.
· Trumpcare repeals the safeguards around health insurance plans, meaning that insurance companies can increase deductibles and out of pocket health care spending for families.
· CBO reports: “CBO and JCT expect that individuals’ cost-sharing payments, including deductibles, in the nongroup market would tend to be higher than those anticipated under current law”.
Trumpcare is “Note a Viable Solution” for People with Pre-existing Conditions to Get Affordable Coverage.
· Trumpcare would require insurance companies to penalize individuals that experience a lapse in coverage greater than 63 days, charging them 30% more for their premiums for an entire year.
· Roughly 133 million Americans have a pre-existing health condition. 93 percent of those who had a pre-existing condition and who experienced a lapse in coverage, went without insurance for two months or more, and about 87 percent went without coverage for three months or more.
· The American Cancer Society has explained that this is “not a viable solution” for sick patients. This harsh punishment simply doesn’t fit the crime.
· It does nothing to guarantee coverage for those 44 million Americans with pre-existing conditions who lose their coverage due to financial hardships, such as job loss or death of a spouse.
Trumpcare Makes the Essential Health Benefit Requirement Less Meaningful
· Trumpcare would make it hard for people to afford to use their insurance benefits because it incentivizes insurance companies to offer high-deductible health plans with large out of pocket costs.
· CBO calls out this sham noting, “In CBO and JCT’s estimation, complying with those two requirements would significantly limit the ability of insurers to design plans with an actuarial value much below 60 percent. Nevertheless, CBO and JCT estimate that repealing the actuarial value requirements would lower the actuarial value of plans in the nongroup market on average.”