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Health Provisions in Democrats’ Recipe for a Prolonged Recession

May 12, 2020

Speaker Pelosi introduced her partisan coronavirus recovery bill, or “Phase 4,” without once consulting with Republicans. In fact, many of its provisions include policies that have been soundly rejected by Republicans in the past. Here’s some of what’s in the bill.

Health Provisions 

Democrats Prioritize Partisanship over Protections for Health Care Providers, Ignore Health Providers Plea For a Safe Harbor Against Frivolous Lawsuits: Hospitals and other health care providers on the front line of fighting the pandemic shouldn’t have to fight frivolous lawsuits instead of safely providing care for patients seeking cancer treatments, heart surgeries, or other procedures. [LINK]

Democrats Seek to Expand Obamacare: Despite POTUS having already rejected the expansion of Obamacare, Democrats are seeking to push through a new Special Enrollment Period—despite the availability of current law special enrollment periods for newly unemployed workers when they lose their job-based coverage.

  • Every single person who loses their employer-based health care already qualifies for a Special Enrollment Period (SEP) because coverage loss is a qualifying life event. This is current law and automatically applies to everyone who has lost their job during the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, half of the newly unemployed can already access a SEP under current law because they lost their employer coverage. Over a quarter would still have access to their current insurance.
  • Others are already eligible for other options, like short-term plans which allow year-round enrollment.
  • Individuals who have foregone these options or were uninsured prior to the pandemic are already guaranteed access to testing and treatment for COVID-19, thanks to Congress’s action to provide free testing for the uninsured and the Trump Administration’s commitment to use part of the $175 billion Provider Relief Fund to cover treatment for the uninsured.

Democrats Ban Information About Lower Cost Coverage Options: House Democrats want to ban the government from sharing any information about lower cost health insurance choices like association health plans or short-term limited duration plans with families:

  • Short-term plans may not be for everyone but they can offer coverage than is 60 percent cheaper than Obamacare plans.
  • Even in a crisis, with record unemployment and fiscal uncertainty for American families, House Democrats— led by Speaker Pelosi— think they know best.
  • They are using this  pandemic to expand their own top-down, Washington-driven view of the world, going as far as to deny Americans access to even information about options that aren’t Obamacare.

Democrats Reject Pro-Life Concerns: Under current law, the loss of a job allows an employee to keep their insurance for a limited time through “COBRA.”

  • House Democrats know full well any bipartisan solution to use federal funds to subsidize private coverage must include pro-life protections to ensure no federal funds are used to provide non-Hyde-compliant abortion services. This proposal does not include these protections, and Democrats are unwilling to address these concerns.
  • Moreover, these subsidies could be greater for people when they’re unemployed than what their employers provide when employed—which could make it less attractive to return to work.

Democrats Make Room for More Giveaways: Among Congressional Democrats list of priorities in this nationwide emergency is a special giveaway that directs extra funds to just 3 blue states. Speaker Pelosi will have to explain to her progressive caucus how this special carveout got included, but not other priorities.

Want to read more on the fight against Coronavirus? Read our Coronavirus Bulletin here which contains our extensive FAQ about recent federal actions.

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