NELP Opposes Taking Health Care Away From 22 Million Americans

Washington, DC—Statement of Christine Owens, Executive Director, National Employment Law Project:

“We oppose in the strongest possible terms Congressional Republicans’ latest efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, or ACA. Both the House and Senate bills would take our country in the completely wrong direction, cutting Medicaid and curtailing access to health care while providing tax cuts to the health care industry and wealthiest Americans. Around 22 million to 23 million more Americans would end up without health insurance, according to nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office projections—an unconscionable result that should cause deep shame to any Senator voting for this most recent attempt to finance new tax breaks for billionaires and millionaires with cuts in lifesaving health care for America’s working families.

“In addition to slashing Medicaid by at least $834 billion over 10 years and ending Medicaid expansion, these bills would roll back the protections that people with employer-provided coverage had under the ACA, such as essential benefits, coverage for preexisting conditions, and lifetime limits.[i], [ii] Making matters worse, the employer mandate, which requires larger companies to offer affordable coverage to employees, would be eliminated, and cost-sharing federal subsidies would end in 2020.

Three-quarters of nonelderly Medicaid enrollees are in working families. Four in 10 children and nearly half of all births are covered by Medicaid. Medicaid supports working people and their families. Cuts to Medicaid and the end of Medicaid expansion will have a devastating effect on families and their communities.

“In addition to providing essential care, Medicaid funding also creates and pays for jobs. By 2026, it’s estimated the legislation would cause the loss of one million jobs. Between 305,000 and 713,000 home care workers would be expected to lose their jobs as a result of the Medicaid cuts, at a moment when an aging America needs to attract more caregivers.

“Both bills will hurt working people and those struggling to find good jobs, as well as infants and children, older adults, people with health conditions, and people with disabilities.  Make no mistake about it:  this legislation is only good for corporations and the very wealthy. Its passage would mark a shameful day for our nation.”

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Endnotes

[i] While the Senate bill says that insurers are required to cover people with preexisting conditions without covering the care they need to treat the condition. For example, someone with cancer may be able to buy insurance but will be offered a plan that won’t cover chemotherapy. Kaiser Health News, Promises Made To Protect Preexisting Conditions Prove Hollow, June 22, 2107.  http://khn.org/news/promises-made-to-protect-preexisting-conditions-prove-hollow/

[ii] The waivers included in the Senate bill allow for states to determine what, if any, essential benefits they would keep. Because lifetime limits apply only to the essential benefits, by limiting or erasing essential benefits, states could end lifetime limits. Vox, Crazy waivers: the Senate bill invites states to gut important health insurance rules, June 23, 2017.  https://www.vox.com/the-big-idea/2017/6/23/15862268/waivers-federalism-senate-bill-essential-benefits

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