The awaited CBO scoring of the Americans Without Health Care Act is in. As expected, you lose. The CBO score has one good news story for Republicans, it says that the bill will reduce the deficit by $337 billion over 10 years. But, it also says that up to 24 million people will lose their insurance in the same 10 years.
The administration and Republicans are already calling the report false. And, according to a memo that Politico saw from the White House, they are right. According to that memo, the White House says that up to 26 million people will lose their insurance in the next 10 years. See, the CBO is low on their numbers!
Here is an example of the plan. Under this plan, if you are 55 to 64 years old, and you make about 30,000 per year, your premium will increase 700 percent and your coverage will go down from 87 percent to 65 percent.
It works this way. Under the ACA a person in this group now pays $1,740 in premiums including the subsidies that they receive from the government. Those subsidies will go away and instead that person will receive $4,000 in tax credits to purchase their insurance. That means this person will be responsible to pay $14,640 in premiums. So, if you are that person, half of you income will go to your health insurance, if you keep it.
The CBO report says that about 14 million people will lose their health insurance in the first year. Again, that is because of the removal of the subsidies in helping to get insurance. In the future, at the end of 2019 to be precise, Medicaid will be slashed big time. In addition, growth in Medicaid will be capped and the money will be given to states in “block grants”.
The block grants will be based on the number of people on Medicaid, not the costs of health insurance needed for coverage. And, with the caps on growth, that means more people will be tossed off of Medicaid. You know, the program that trump said would not be cut.
There are a lot of other problems with this plan. Planed Parenthood, which is the largest provider of birth control and pre-natal care for poor women will be cut from the Medicaid funding altogether. Meaning they won’t be able to provide those services to poor women.
The CBO report says we can expect thousands of unwanted pregnancies due to these cuts. It also means that people who need pre-natal care the most and can’t afford it won’t get it. Meaning many more birth defects can be expected as well. Plus, it will probably also result in more abortions. Abortion rates are at 30 year lows because of the birth control that places like Planned Parenthood offer. More birth control results in fewer unwanted pregnancies and fewer abortions.
The only reason that Republicans have targeted Planned Parenthood is that they offer abortion services. They do not allow abortion services that are paid for through Medicaid since that would be against the law. But, since they offer the services, Republicans say they can’t get any money from the government.
So, more unwanted pregnancies will result. Fewer cancer screenings will result. More women will be hurt by not receiving these services, just because Republicans simply don’t care about women’s health care needs.
Paul Ryan is actually happy as a lark over the report. He naturally is claiming the deficit reduction is all that matters. But, then, that is the whole purpose of this Americans Without Health Care Act. To cut the deficit and to cut your health care coverage and to give the rich a bigger tax break. As far as Ryan is concerned, mission accomplished.
It isn’t just the old who are going to get slammed by this bill either. The middle-class will also get hurt. It is estimated that the average increase in premiums will be over $1200. So, unless you are making over 75,000 per year, you can expect your insurance coverage to go up. Plus, it will cover less than the current law does. That 87 percent is cut to 65 percent across the board.
There is also the very real possibility that if you are currently covered by an employer sponsored health insurance plan, you could lose it. The new law takes away the employer mandate. Under the ACA, if a company employed 50 people or more, they were required to provide health care coverage. If this law passes, they will no longer be mandated to provide that coverage.
That means that any company who currently provides health insurance as part of their employment package can opt out and leave you hanging. I really don’t expect a lot of companies to do that, but the possibility is there which means the numbers of people without insurance could be much higher than the CBO or even the White House currently expects.
Rural areas are going to be especially hard hit. Whether or not you know this, it is in rural areas where opioid addiction is at its worse. Just to give you a hint, there is a small town in West Virginia that has a total population of 400 people. Three pharmaceutical companies sent over 4 million doses of opioid pills in just one year to that town. A former State Senator is suing the companies over this abuse.
Some of the things that are being cut in the Americans Without Health Care Act is treatment for addiction. Without Medicaid, people in rural areas won’t be able to afford treatment for their addiction. And, addiction requires constant treatment, it doesn’t go away with one or two visits.
The result will be that poor people in rural areas will continue to die from opioid addiction and this plan will do nothing to help them. Instead, it will make the problem even worse.
Here is another simple fact. These poor rural people are the very people that voted for trump. He promised them he would take care of them, and now he is backing a bill that will ultimately kill them. That is not hyperbole either. Without health care, people will die.
You also need to know something that will couple with this bill. There is another bill going through the House that deals with so-called “wellness programs”. These programs were designed to help keep costs of health care down by helping people live better healthier lives.
Under these plans in the ACA the program is voluntary. They offer screening for things like cholesterol, high blood pressure, body fat, etc. If you agree to the program, you can receive a lower rate on your premiums or other incentive awards. Those awards are capped on dollar values.
The new bill that is sponsored by Virginia Foxx from the Soviet Socialist State of North Carolina goes even further. It says that an employer can ask you to give them a DNA test. She claims it is “voluntary” but if you refuse, the company will be allowed to charge you a basically unlimited amount of money for your premiums. That is not “voluntary” it is “mandatory” unless you want to pay much more for your insurance.
Forget the idea that this program would be a violation of your privacy. The bill strips that privacy right away from you when it comes to your health coverage. If your DNA shows a genetic trait, what is going to keep the company from dropping you from the health plan?
As far as I am concerned, the covers have been thrown back to show what the Americans Without Health Care Act is all about. It is a simple tax cut for the rich at the expense of the working poor and the old. It is estimated that the top 2 percent of income earners will receive a whopping $250 billion tax cut over ten years from this bill alone.
The fact that their tax cut is being paid for by you losing your health care does not matter to Republicans or to trump. The only thing that matters is that the rest of us be kept in our place. The only thing that matters is that income inequality is to grow and grow. If you die, so be it. You don’t matter.
This especially comes true when you look at the cuts that the trump administration wants to make in the budget. They want to cut research funds for the CDC. They are rolling back environmental protections that will result in more illnesses. They are cutting back on FEMA funds. They are basically abandoning the American People.
And, the shirts keep marching along.