After finally seeing the health care bill that U.S. Senate Republicans were working on behind closed doors, it became obvious why they kept it a secret. It's flat out dangerous.
The problems came to light quickly after Republicans released the bill language last week. Millions of people could lose coverage. There are provisions that will hurt vulnerable populations, like kids, seniors and the working poor. It will also "wreck and wreak havoc" on Medicaid. And it effectively allows insurance companies to create an age tax, moving affordable health care out of reach for many.
Here is a brief rundown of some of the most onerous aspects of the bill:
- Reduces the tax credits for people in the middle class, which they use to afford their health care
- Allows insurance companies to charge up to five times as much for people over 50
- Cuts Medicaid spending even more than the House bill and removes care for seniors in nursing homes, people with disabilities and kids. In Arizona about 400,000 people would lose the health care coverage they receive through AHCCCS
- Lets insurance companies deny coverage for maternity care, mental health care, and substance abuse treatment
- Cuts treatments for people with opioid disorders when we are facing an opioid epidemic
- Defunds Planned Parenthood, which affects the 2.4 million people who depend on the organization for care
- Could cost Arizona as much as $7.1 billion by 2026
This bill isn't bad for everyone though – it's a great deal for the rich and for insurance and drug companies. This version contains tax cuts for the rich that will let millionaires save about $55,000 every year by 2025.
One news outlet reported: "To put a finer point on it, the richest 400 households in the country would receive tax cuts worth $33 billion between 2019 and 2028. For some perspective, that’s about the same as the combined cost of maintaining Medicaid expansion in Alaska, Arkansas, Nevada, and West Virginia, according to a report by the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities."
This has to be stopped – it really is a matter of life and death. It is imperative that Arizonans tell Senators Flake and McCain to vote no on this health care disaster. We've heard that their offices are being inundated with calls. That momentum must continue. Make your voice heard. Let them know they have a duty to #ProtectOurCare.