The American Health Care Act could pass the House today and people are scared.
With the addition of a last-minute amendment, Republican leaders are confident just enough moderate Republicans are on board to push the bill through to the Senate.
Despite the ostensibly moderating changes, the bill remains as potentially destructive as before.
As a result, thousands of citizens are hurriedly telling their representatives in no uncertain terms that they’ll be voted out of a job if they pass it.
Here’s why they’re not waiting:
1. The Congressional Budget Office hasn’t scored the current version of the bill, so we don’t know how many people will lose coverage or how much it will cost.
When the CBO scored the old draft of the bill that was tabled back in March, it found that, under its provisions, up to 24 million people could lose insurance coverage by 2026. The new version of the bill has been amended several times, but the score hasn’t been reissued yet.
The updated law could cover more people. It could cover fewer. It could be less expensive. It could be more expensive. The problem is nobody knows.
The House still plans to vote on it.
2. If you have any number of common pre-existing conditions, the bill could massively spike your premiums.
Despite Republican assurances that the proposed law “protects” people with pre-existing conditions, a recent amendment allows states to choose which health benefits they require insurers to cover meaning maternity, mental health care, and more could be out depending on where you live and to permit insurance companies to charge based on health status rather than age.
A Center for American Progress analysis concluded that this amendment would raise premiums by thousands and in some case tens of thousands of dollars for individuals with asthma, pregnancy, autism, kidney disease, cancer, and more.
3. Rape and sexual assault could be considered pre-existing conditions under the new law.
Prior to the ACA, insurers were largely free to deny health coverage to those who had suffered sexual violence.
Under the new law, insurance companies in some states could charge survivors much more than they’re currently paying.
That’s shockingly cruel.
4. Lifetime limits could make a comeback.
Before Obamacare, insurance companies could cap the amount they agreed to pay out over a customer’s lifetime, forcing even insured people with expensive medical conditions to go deep into debt or go without care.
Allowing states to apply for waivers for essential health benefits could mean that insurance companies start setting those limits again, which would be devastating for people with chronic, lifelong illnesses.
5. The bill could cut funding for special education programs.
As if the heretofore illustrated level of cartoon villainy wasn’t enough, the bill’s giant Medicaid cuts would probably spell the end of many school services for disabled children who rely on that funding.
Clearly on a roll, the bill’s architects figured they might as well throw in gutting care for poor, sick old people too while they’re at it.
6. It could even mess with the health coverage you get through your employer, like most Americans do.
If you work for a big company with a presence in many states, your boss could choose to set up shop in the one with the skimpiest essential benefits standards, saving the company some money and gutting your coverage in the process.
That could mean you lose your mental health care, your mammograms, your vaccinations, or even your prescription drug coverage.
7. It could cause massive, unknown damage to the U.S. economy.
Over 12 million Americans work in health care. It’s our country’s fourth largest industry by GDP. No one knows for sure what impact the bill might have on all those jobs and all that market value because the bill has yet to be released publicly in its final form.
And the House seems like it’s just going to roll the dice with it.
The vote is dangerously close.
Representatives leaning no as of now seem to include Mario Diaz-Balart, David Joyce, and Michael Turner.
Still undecided representatives presently may include Justin Amash, Paul Cook, Carlos Curbelo, John Faso, Darrell Issa, Steve Knight, Erik Paulsen, Bruce Poliquin, Peter Roskam, Ed Royce, Elisa Stefanik, Rob Wittman, Kevin Yoder, and Don Young.
If any of these people represent you, and this bill freaks you out, do yourself and your fellow Americans a favor, light up their phones this morning.
Emotionally, spiritually, and perhaps most crucially physically, we might all feel a lot better if this thing goes down.
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