The much anticipated Congressional Budget Office score for the Republican healthcare bill was released on Monday and it’s official: It’s a disaster.
The Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA) would result in 22 million people losing their health insurance benefits.
The CBO found that the federal deficit would decline by $321 billion between 2017 and 2026, but of course, that would be because $862 billion would be cut due to cutting loose Medicaid recipients. Because nothing says I love you more than sticking it to the poor, the disabled and seniors. Revenue from the tax cuts for the wealthy embedded in the bill would reduce revenue by $541 billion.
Premiums would rise 20 percent in 2018 and 10 percent in 2019, compared to current baseline rates. After 2020, premiums would come down due to getting rid of the pesky poor, disabled and seniors.
Out of pocket costs would skyrocket due to insurance companies having to cover only 58 percent of costs versus the 70 percent they are now required to cover. Say hello to higher deductibles.
“Under current law for a single policyholder in 2017, the average deductible (for medical and drug expenses combined) is about $6,000 for a bronze plan and $3,600 for a silver plan,” the CBO said, adding that it and the Joint Committee on Taxation “expect that the benchmark plans under this legislation would have high deductibles similar to those for the bronze plans offered under current law.”
The waiting period prescribed in the bill, which would require those who don’t maintain coverage in the prior year, is six months. The CBO estimates that slightly more people would maintain coverage BUT:
“Imposing that waiting period would, CBO and JCT expect, slightly increase the number of people with insurance, on net, throughout the 2018-2026 period — but not in 2019, when the incentives to obtain coverage would be weak because premiums would be relatively high.”
Finally, the individual insurance market would remain stable – just as it did in the years before the Affordable Care Act. Because people need health insurance, so if they can somehow afford it, they’ll buy it, no matter how lousy it is.
How lousy can it get? Let me tell you a story about what happened to me.
After leaving the acting profession, I still had insurance through SAG and AFTRA. It was terrific insurance, so I opted to pay the COBRA fees. At that time it was about $350 a month and the insurance was awesome. But it ran out, so I went to investigate what I could get in the marketplace that was comparable. The answer was NOTHING.
Every insurer I contacted (that included Blue Cross, Blue Shield and a host of other insurers that are well known and trusted) turned me down because of my pre-existing conditions: acid reflux, arthritis and IBS. None of them are life threatening or even very expensive to treat. But it was good enough to knock me off of eligibility. I was forced to look at alternative plans.
This is what I wound up with: for the same money I spent for my great health insurance through SAG AFTRA, the company that agreed to insure me offered a $2,500 deductible PER CONDITION. So, if I contracted cancer, the deductible was $2,500. If I then had a heart attack, that was a different condition, so that carried a $2,500 deductible. If I broke my leg – $2,500 deductible. You see where we’re going here? Oh, and each condition was capped at $100,000. Now, perhaps for a broken leg, that’s not so terrible, but cancer? Heart attack? You can run up a bill like that in no time flat. Then what? There were no participating doctors, so no discounts for service. There was no prescription medicine coverage. Basically, it was catastrophic coverage that didn’t even cover a real health catastrophe.
This is the brave old world Republicans would have us return to.
If you live in a red state, GET ON THE PHONE and call your senators and tell them to grow a heart where that piece of coal is and vote no on this assault on the American people just so the rich can get richer.
Call your Senators (202) 224-3121
Or Text resist to 50409 to send them a Free Fax
Ann Werner is the author of thrillers and other things. Show her some love and check out her books!
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