Spotlight: Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-VA)
Senate Republicans passed a tax bill on Friday night that repeals health care to pay for another massive tax break for the wealthiest and corporations. What the repeal of the individual mandate in the Senate bill means is simple: while the wealthy and corporations get a tax break, middle-class families will get double digit premium increases, 13 million people will lose their coverage, older Americans will get an age tax and $25 billion in Medicare funding will be cut.
The bill passed by the House did not include the repeal of the individual mandate. The House should insist that it stays out. Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-VA) has one opportunity left to take a stand against any inclusion of the individual mandate in the final bill which, if passed with the repeal of the individual mandate, would cause 287,000 people to lose coverage in Virginia including 28,800 in Rep. Comstock’s district, raise premiums on middle-class families by $2,140 and impose an age tax of up to $1,600 on older Virginians, and cut $546 million in Medicare funds to Virginia all to pay for tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations.
SENATE REPUBLICANS JUST VOTED TO REPEAL HEALTH CARE — RAISING PREMIUMS BY DOUBLE DIGITS FOR MIDDLE CLASS FAMILIES, RIPPING AWAY COVERAGE FOR 13 MILLION AMERICANS, IMPOSING AN AGE TAX ON OLDER AMERICANS AND GUTTING MEDICARE BY $25 BILLION — ALL TO PAY FOR SPECIAL TAX BREAKS FOR MILLIONAIRES AND BIG CORPORATIONS
Congressional Budget Office: Republican Tax Bill Will Result In 13 Million More Uninsured People. “The number of people with health insurance would decrease by 4 million in 2019 and 13 million in 2027.” [CBO, 11/8/17]
CBO: Average Premiums Will Increase By 10 Percent In Most Years Of The Next Decade Due To The Republican Tax Bill. “Average premiums in the nongroup market would increase by about 10 percent in most years of the decade (with no changes in the ages of people purchasing insurance accounted for) relative to CBO’s baseline projections.” [CBO, 11/8/17]
Center For American Progress: Marketplace Premiums For A Typical Middle-Class Family In Virginia Will Rise By $2,140 In 2019. [Center for American Progress, 11/16/17]
CBO: Healthier People Less Likely To Purchase Health Coverage, Raising Costs For Everyone Else. “Those effects would occur mainly because healthier people would be less likely to obtain insurance and because, especially in the nongroup market, the resulting increases in premiums would cause more people to not purchase insurance.” [CBO, 11/8/17]
AARP: Premiums For People Over 50 Would Increase Up To $1,500 Nationally, And Up To $1,600 In Virginia, Because Of Health Care Repeal In The Republican Tax Bill. “The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act as reported by the Senate Finance Committee on Nov. 16, 2017 includes a new provision that would both reduce health care coverage and increase costs for millions of Americans. Older adults ages 50–64 would be at particularly high risk under the proposal, facing average premium increases of up to $1,500 in 2019 as a result of the bill.” [AARP, 11/21/17]
CBO: Republican Tax Bill Would Trigger A $25 Billion Cut To Medicare.“Without enacting subsequent legislation to either offset that deficit increase, waive the recordation of the bill’s impact on the scorecard, or otherwise mitigate or eliminate the requirements of the PAYGO law, OMB would be required to issue a sequestration order within 15 days of the end of the session of Congress to reduce spending in fiscal year 2018 by the resultant total of $136 billion. However, the PAYGO law limits reductions to Medicare to four percentage points (or roughly $25 billion for that year), leaving about $111 billion to be sequestered from the remaining mandatory accounts.” [CBO, 11/14/17]
Center For American Progress: Virginia Would See A $546 Million Cut In Medicare Funds. [Center for American Progress, 11/16/17]
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL): Republicans Need To Cut Medicare Next To Pay For Tax Cuts. “‘I analyze this very differently than most,’ Rubio told the crowd. ‘Many argue that you can’t cut taxes because it will drive up the deficit. But we have to do two things. We have to generate economic growth which generates revenue, while reducing spending. That will mean instituting structural changes to Social Security and Medicare for the future,’ the senator said.” [Financial Advisor Magazine, 11/30/17]
Center On Budget And Policy Priorities: “Senate Tax Bill Would Add 13 Million To Uninsured To Pay For Tax Cuts Of Nearly $100,000 Per Year For The Top 0.1 Percent.” “The savings from eliminating the mandate would come entirely from reducing health coverage. For example, the federal government would spend less on premium tax credits because fewer people would sign up for marketplace coverage, less on Medicaid because fewer people would enroll, and less on the tax exclusion for employer-sponsored health insurance because fewer employees would enroll in job-based coverage. These savings are what let Senate leaders make their full corporate rate cut permanent…The benefits of corporate rate cuts go overwhelmingly to high-income households.” [CBPP, 11/15/17]
PASSING ALEXANDER-MURRAY AFTER VOTING FOR REPEAL IS LIKE INSTALLING GUARDRAILS ON THE HIGHWAY AFTER YOUR CAR HAS GONE OVER THE CLIFF
CBO: Passing Alexander-Murray After The Repeal Of The Individual Responsibility Provision Would Not Undo The Damage. “In your letter of November 21, 2017, you asked about the combined effects of simultaneously passing the BHCSA and legislation that would repeal the requirement that most U.S. citizens and noncitizens who lawfully reside in the country have health insurance meeting specified standards. Specifically, you asked if legislation that combined the provisions would change the agencies’ previous estimates of the number of people with insurance coverage or premiums in the nongroup insurance market. In the estimate for the BHCSA, the agencies wrote that, relative to the Summer 2017 baseline, the legislation would not substantially change the number of people with health insurance coverage, on net.” [CBO, 11/29/17]
There Is No Guarantee Alexander-Murray Would Pass The House, Let Alone Become Law. There is no guarantee Alexander-Murray would pass the House, let alone become law. Speaker Ryan dodged questions about its fate in the House. House conservatives called it a “nonstarter.” And President Trump has been all over the map on this issue his word cannot be trusted.
THE LEADING EXPERTS — PATIENT GROUPS, INSURERS, DOCTORS AND HOSPITALS — AND MORE THAN 2,400 FAITH LEADERS AND THE AMERICAN PEOPLE OPPOSE HEALTH REPEAL
American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Diabetes Association, American Heart Association, And 16 More Leading Patient Groups: People With “Serious Health Care Needs” And With Pre-Existing Conditions “May Not Be Able To Afford Coverage.” “Many individuals with serious health care needs, including patients with chronic or major health conditions, who by definition, have a pre-existing condition, may not be able to afford coverage.” [The Hill, 11/28/17]
America’s Health Insurance Plans, American Academy Of Family Physicians, American Hospital Association, American Medical Association, Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, Federation Of American Hospitals: Leading Industry Groups Warn Of “Serious Consequences” Should The Mandate Be Repealed. “As providers of healthcare and coverage to hundreds of millions of Americans, we are committed to assuring everyone has access to a range of high quality, affordable coverage options so they can access the care they need, regardless of pre-existing conditions. To achieve this critical goal, we are urging you to maintain the individual mandate unless and until Congress can enact a package of reforms to adequately assure a balanced risk pool and prevent extraordinary premium increases.” [Letter, 11/14/17]
More Than 2,400 Faith Leaders: “That The Number Of Uninsured Individuals Would Increase By 13 Million By 2025…Violates Our Faith Teaching.” “The individual mandate is critical to keeping individual market coverage affordable and keeping the individual market stable. By repealing the individual mandate, legislation will cause catastrophic losses in health coverage. The CBO estimates that the number of uninsured individuals would increase by 13 million by 2025, which violates our faith teaching.” [Letter, 11/29/17]