Senate Republicans are ignoring bipartisan opposition and trying to repeal health care once again by inserting a provision into the tax bill that repeals the individual mandate. This provision would leave 13 million people without health coverage, raise premiums by double digits and destabilize the insurance markets.
But don’t take our word for it. Key stakeholders warned of these effects right before the Senate voted down the so-called “skinny” repeal bill.
American Cancer Society Cancer Action Society: “Critical Patient Protections In The Current Health Care Law That Ended Discrimination Against People With Pre-existing Conditions, Eliminated Annual And Lifetime Benefit Limits, And Guaranteed Minimum Essential Coverage Will Not Be Sustainable If The Provisions Reported To Be In The “Skinny” Repeal Bill Are Enacted Into Law.” “Critical patient protections in the current health care law that ended discrimination against people with pre-existing conditions, eliminated annual and lifetime benefit limits, and guaranteed minimum essential coverage will not be sustainable if the provisions reported to be in the “skinny” repeal bill are enacted into law. The legislation could cause the individual insurance market to collapse putting millions of American families at financial risk.” [ACS CAN, 7/27/17]
AARP: “The Bill Will Leave Millions Uninsured, Destabilize The Health Insurance Market And Lead to Spikes In The Cost Of Premiums.” “AARP, with its nearly 38 million members, writes to express our opposition to the reported McConnell “skinny” repeal bill. The bill will leave millions uninsured, destabilize the health insurance market and lead to spikes in the cost of premiums. The CBO confirms that the provisions of the reported “skinny” repeal bill will lead to 16 million Americans losing their health coverage, including 4 million Americans who will lose employer-sponsored coverage. The result will be higher health care costs and fewer choices for millions of older Americans. We urge you to reject this flawed bill and this cynical approach. Instead, we urge you to begin work on a bipartisan solution to lower health costs and protect and strengthen the coverage that millions of Americans rely upon.” [AARP, 7/27/17]
America’s Health Insurance Plans: “We Would Oppose An Approach That Eliminates The Individual Coverage Requirement, Does Not Offer Alternative Continuous Coverage Solutions, And Does Not Include Measures To Immediately Stabilize The Individual Market.” “This continued uncertainty — combined with targeted proposals that would eliminate key elements of current law without new stabilizing solutions — will not solve the problems in the individual market, and in fact will result in higher premiums, fewer choices for consumers, and fewer people covered next year. We would oppose an approach that eliminates the individual coverage requirement, does not offer alternative continuous coverage solutions, and does not include measures to immediately stabilize the individual market.” [AHIP, 7/27/17]
Association For Community Affiliated Plans: “Simply Repealing The Individual Mandate Without An Equivalent Mechanism To Encourage Participation May Well Be The Trigger That Incites A Death Spiral In The Marketplaces.” “However, we remain concerned about the proposed skinny plan and the impact it would have on the Marketplaces. Simply repealing the individual mandate without an equivalent mechanism to encourage participation may well be the trigger that incites a death spiral in the Marketplaces. And it would place ACAP’s member plans in the untenable position of having to choose whether and for how long they can remain in an unstable marketplace, jeopardizing the coverage of millions of Americans receiving coverage from safety net plans. ACAP urges the Senate to reject the so-called “skinny plan” and instead work with stakeholders in a bipartisan manner to fix the Affordable Care Act. We stand ready to work with both the House and the Senate, as we have stood ready for many months, to identify, pass, and implement fixes to the Affordable Care Act and underlying health care system.” [ACAP, 7/27/17]
Consumers Union: “This So-Called ‘Skinny Repeal’ Would Not Only Still Leave Millions Uninsured, Destabilize The Insurance Markets Further, And Trigger Skyrocketing Premiums, But Is Also An Attempt To Try To Breathe New Life Into The Harmful Ideas In Both The American Health Care Act And The Better Care Reconciliation Act.” “Rather than finding a new way forward to strengthen the insurance markets, Senate leaders are using smoke and mirrors to make it seem as if this latest proposal is somehow different or better than the ones just voted down in the Senate. Don’t be fooled. This so-called ‘skinny repeal’ would not only still leave millions uninsured, destabilize the insurance markets further, and trigger skyrocketing premiums, but is also an attempt to try to breathe new life into the harmful ideas in both the American Health Care Act and the Better Care Reconciliation Act — both hugely unpopular proposals that have been rejected by Senators repeatedly.” [Consumers Union, 7/27/17]
American Medical Association: “Skinny Repeal” Will Lead “To Adverse Selection That Would Increase Premiums And Destabilize The Individual Market.” “There has been considerable speculation regarding a so-called “skinny package” that would primarily eliminate penalties related to the individual and employer mandates and provide tax cuts to device manufactures and the health insurance industry. Eliminating the mandate to obtain coverage only exacerbates the affordability problem that critics say they want to address. Instead, it leads to adverse selection that would increase premiums and destabilize the individual market.” [AMA, 7/26/17]
Blue Cross Blue Shield Association: “A System That Allows People To Purchase Coverage Only When They Need It Drives Up Costs For Everyone.” “If there is no longer a requirement for everyone to purchase coverage, it is critical that any legislation include strong incentives for people to obtain health insurance and keep it year-round. A system that allows people to purchase coverage only when they need it drives up costs for everyone.” [New York Times, 7/26/17]
American Academy Of Actuaries Health Practice Council: Repealing The Individual Mandate Would Raise Premiums And Costs To The Federal Government. “Eliminating the mandate, by lowering financial penalties or exempting particular categories of individuals from its requirements, would likely have significant implications for health insurance coverage and costs both to consumers and the federal government….Eliminating the individual mandate would lead to premium increases….Higher premiums could lead to increased federal government costs for premium subsidies.” [American Academy of Actuaries, 7/25/17]