GOP Health Care Proposals Threaten to Raise Costs and Reduce Choices

Jul 29, 2016

Since the enactment of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), more than 20 million previously uninsured Americans have gained quality health care coverage, yet Republicans have repeatedly attempted to repeal these protections. And after holding more than 60 votes to repeal the health reform law and filing a lawsuit to undermine the ACA, Congressional Republicans still have not produced legislation to replace it.

In an effort to paper over this basic failure to live up to their own rhetoric, House Republicans recently put out a series of talking points in a white paper they have touted as their health care plan. This document, despite being many recycled ideas, fails to address many important details required of any serious legislative effort. This incomplete “plan” illustrates the major threat that Republican proposals pose to health care for America’s workers, families, senior citizens, and individuals with disabilities.

Here are three groups of Americans put most at risk by the Republican health care “plan”:

Under the Republican proposal, Americans could once again be discriminated against because of their pre-existing conditions or gender.

In contrast to the ACA – which made it possible for millions of Americans with pre-existing conditions to get affordable coverage for the first time – the Republican agenda rolls back protections for individuals living with chronic illness or disabilities by reinstating high-risk pools. These high-risk pools discriminate against the sick and people with disabilities by segregating them in second class plans that have high out-of-pocket costs, limited coverage, and waiting lists. The Republican proposal would also enable insurance companies to once again discriminate against women by allowing them to charge women higher rates for simply being women.

Under the Republican proposal, seniors would lose Medicare as we know it.  

The Republican idea centers around shifting costs onto seniors through a capped premium support voucher and raising the Medicare eligibility age to 67 from 65. Put simply, the plan would end Medicare’s guarantee of health care benefits for seniors. It irresponsibly raises health costs by eliminating Medicare payment protections that prevent insurance companies from overcharging seniors. Rather than a patient-centered approach for Medicare, the Republican approach is a one-size-fits-all federal voucher, leaving seniors and individuals with disabilities at the mercy of budget whims and insurance companies.

Under the Republican proposal, families and individuals with disabilities would likely receive less help

The Republican proposal would cap funding for insurance coverage for children, individuals with disabilities, and low-income seniors who depend on Medicaid for health coverage. States would be left with less funding, forced to cut provider rates and benefits, and shifting more costs to those families struggling to make a living at minimum wage. Additionally, the centerpiece of their plan pushes more costs onto consumers through health savings accounts that benefit the more affluent, and high deductible health plans that leave the average American with excessive out-of-pocket costs to get even basic care.

Reducing health care choices and raising costs for seniors, for individuals with disabilities, and for families is the wrong way for America.

Prepared by Democratic Staff, House Committee on Ways and Means

 

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114th Congress