3/16/2017 7:27:00 AM Reader questions Republican's rush to push through AHCA
To the editor:
The House Republicans, under Representative Paul Ryan's leadership, are attempting to quickly push their bill, the American Health Care Act (AHCA) through committees and Congress to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act before the Congressional Budget Office had a chance to analyze the bill's projected effect on consumers, healthcare providers, insurance companies, and the federal budget.
The Medicare Rights Center voices concern over the lack of transparency in the secretive, rushed manner the bill has been debated and advanced, and predicts the AHCA will result in: 1) higher healthcare costs or coverage losses for seniors, people with disabilities, and their families; 2) insurance coverage that is far more expensive for folks over 50 who are not yet eligible for Medicare, and for people on Social Security Disability in the two-year Medicare waiting period; 3) lower assistance levels to help people afford insurance premiums; 4) scaling back coverage for folks needing Medicaid assistance to cover long-term health care and nursing home services, resulting in waiting lists, unaffordable financial obligations, and restricted access to needed care; and 5) a tax windfall for the wealthiest Americans at Medicare's expense.
The AHCA exacerbates wealth inequality by giving an estimated $346 billion in tax cuts for the wealthy over ten years while decreasing Medicare funding in that amount.
Subsidies for insurance premiums currently tied to low incomes will give way to tax credits which get incrementally higher with age, further hurting younger low-income folks struggling to make ends meet.
Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) will have higher limits under the Republican plan. These accounts allow people to make tax-deductible contributions to tax-free savings accounts to use for future healthcare costs. This tax break doesn't help folks living paycheck-to-paycheck.
Contact President Trump and your U.S. Senators and Representative to tell them the irresponsible way the Republicans are approaching healthcare reform is causing irreparable harm to the current healthcare system by throwing it into a state of chaos and uncertainty, the costs for which the Republicans will be held accountable; that the Republican AHCA fails to help those who need it most to gain access to affordable healthcare; that trying to rush this ill-advised legislation through Congress is quickly being seen for what it is: a thinly veiled tax giveaway for the rich; that this plan is a huge betrayal of Trump's campaign promise to preserve Medicare and Medicaid with no cuts to the programs.
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