Skip to main content

FACT SHEET: Republicans Propose Budget That Will Raise Health Care Costs and Rip Coverage Away from Millions of Americans

By March 20, 2024No Comments

In MAGA Republicans’ latest attack on American health care, the Republican Study Committee (RSC) released a disastrous budget proposal for FY2025. The plan would increase prescription drugs prices by repealing the Inflation Reduction Act, hike annual premiums by thousands of dollars, expand junk plans that don’t cover basic benefits like prescription drugs or maternity care, strip away protections for people with pre-existing conditions, and put Medicaid coverage for millions in jeopardy. 

While President Biden and Democrats in Congress are hard at work bringing down the cost of health care in order to keep food on the table and a roof over the heads of millions of people, MAGA Republicans are working to rip away protections, raise health care costs, and throw the health care system into chaos. Here’s just a few of the catastrophic changes Republicans want: 

Kill the Inflation Reduction Act’s Drug Pricing Savings. The RSC budget proposal would fully repeal the Inflation Reduction Act, which is saving Americans thousands of dollars on health care by holding big pharmaceutical companies accountable and bringing down the cost of prescription drugs, making health care plans more affordable with premium tax credit subsidies, and capping the price of insulin at $35 per month for Medicare Part D beneficiaries. Here are just a few of the impacts this disastrous plan would have on American health care:

  • GONE: Insulin co-pays will no longer be capped at $35 per month for 4 million Americans on Medicare who use insulin.
  • GONE: 52 million Medicare beneficiaries will no longer be able to receive the shingles vaccination and other recommended vaccinations free of cost.
  • GONE: Seniors on Medicare will no longer be protected from drug company price hikes through inflation rebates.
  • GONE: Medicare will be banned from negotiating drug prices. Nearly 9 million people take the first ten drugs that were selected for Medicare negotiation, which account for 20 percent of the annual Medicare Part D spending. Negotiated prices will take effect in 2026.
  • GONE: 400,000 low-income seniors will no longer receive more help affording prescription drugs through the Medicare Part D Extra Help program.
  • GONE: Medicaid and CHIP beneficiaries will no longer have access to recommended vaccinations free of cost.
  • GONE: Seniors with the highest brand-name drug costs will no longer have their out-of-pocket costs capped at $3,250 for the year and $2,000 in 2025, which would save nearly 19 million Americans an average of $400 each year

Strike Premium Tax Credits, Raising Premiums By Thousands of Dollars. The RSC budget proposal would rescind temporary enhancements to premium tax credits originally enacted in the American Rescue Plan and extended by the Inflation Reduction Act until 2025. These enhanced tax credits have reduced ACA Marketplace enrollees’ premiums by an average of $800 per year.

  • GONE: Premium tax credits that make premiums affordable for 80 percent of people who purchase health care on the Marketplace, saving millions of Americans an average $527.
  • GONE: Annual health insurance premiums will increase by an average $7,676 for a family of four making $125,000 a year if premium tax credit enhancements are rescinded.

Expand Junk Plans. The RSC proposal would codify rules put forth by the Trump administration that expanded health insurance plans known as association health plans (AHPs). These plans are not required to cover the essential health benefits put in place by the Affordable Care Act and are allowed to charge people more based on their age, health status, and gender. AHPs have a long history of fraud and unpaid claims and provide weaker cost and protection coverage. The proposal also applauds efforts by the Trump administration to expand short-term limited-duration plans, which engage in predatory marketing practices, fail to protect people with pre-existing conditions, and put patients at risk of bankruptcy when they get sick. The Trump administration’s decision to expand access to these plans exposed consumers to scams and reduced transparency about coverage limits and hidden fees. 

Rip Away the ACA’s Protections For Pre-Existing Conditions. The RSC proposal would remove many protections for the over 100 million Americans with pre-existing conditions made possible through the Affordable Care Act, and would allow insurers to deny coverage, except for people who have had continuous coverage through an employer or the individual market.

Threaten Coverage For People With High-Risk Medical Conditions, Leaving Millions of Americans At The Mercy of State Coverage Pools. The RSC proposal would funnel people with high-risk medical conditions into state-run coverage pools, leaving states with the final say on how insurers can determine premiums based on health risks. These high risk coverage pools often impose high premiums and deductibles, with premiums as much as 200 percent higher than average and deductibles substantially greater than allowed under the ACA – all at a higher cost to American taxpayers. Numerous studies have shown that high risk coverage pools often provide worse care, with many having exclusions for pre-existing conditions, limited benefits, lifetime and annual limits on coverage, waiting periods, and often result in delayed or forgone care.

Loosen Restrictions For Hospitals Providing Worse Care At Higher Costs For Patients. The RSC proposal would eliminate the ban on physician-owned hospitals, which provide limited or no emergency services, cherry-pick the most potentially profitable patients, and incur significantly higher costs on the Medicare program. According to the HHS, up to one-third of these hospitals may violate Medicare requirements by relying on publicly funded services to stabilize patients while still charging the patients exorbitantly.

Jeopardize Medicaid Coverage For Millions Through Block Grants. MAGA Republicans want to radically restructure Medicaid by changing it into five block grants. Block grants would shift costs to states and inevitably result in deep cuts to Medicaid programs by capping the amount of federal Medicaid funding states receive. As CBPP found in 2017, a block grant would force states to make deep cuts to their Medicaid programs to compensate for the federal funding cuts.