An Obamacare replacement plan that we already knew was bad for Illinois because of brutal cuts to Medicaid is looking worse than ever.
Now, we learned Wednesday, it also would make life harder for people with pre-existing or newly diagnosed medical conditions in states across the country.
By 2018, 14 million more Americans would be uninsured than under Obamacare, according to a long-awaited analysis by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. By 2026, the number would go up to 23 million.
But, hey, House Speaker Paul Ryan said, the American Health Care Act would reduce the federal deficit by $119 billion over the next decade!
Talk about cherry-picking the good news.
The deficit would go down, yes, and wealthy Americans would enjoy a sizable tax break. But tens of millions of Americans — somebody you know, somebody you love or maybe just you — would be kicked off the insurance rolls.
States that seek waivers from current regulations would do their residents an enormous disservice. Those states could reduce almost to nothing minimum standards for health coverage. Insurance companies would be allowed to raise premiums on people whose coverage lapses. Sick people would end up in high-risk pool programs.
“Less healthy people would face extremely high premiums, despite the additional funding that would be available” under the House bill, the CBO report said. “Over time, it would become more difficult for less healthy people (including people with pre-existing medical conditions) in those states to purchase insurance because their premiums would continue to increase rapidly.”
The House rushed this bill to a vote before the CBO could score it. They had to know that tens of millions of people would end up uninsured, just as with previous drafts of bills to replace Obamacare. But the bill narrowly passed. You can thank, by the way, every Republican representative from Illinois, including Rep. Peter Roskam and Rep. Randy Hultgren, both from the Chicago suburbs.
President Donald Trump so badly wanted a legislative victory that he threw away a campaign promise to provide health care — better and less expensive — for all Americans. He is so politically inept that he took what Ryan handed him, no doubt not bothering to understand the details. He wanted to move on to more pressing stuff, like tax cuts for the wealthy.
Ensuring continued access to Medicaid to some 3.2 million Illinois residents was a snoozer in comparison.
The American Health Care Act is not law yet, not by a long shot. It has to get through the Senate, but it won’t, not as it stands.
There’s your real good news, without the cherry-picking.
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