GOP Basement Bill Kills Sick People

 In Healthcare Rights

The ‘Basement Bill’ has crawled into daylight, and it looks awful. It is actually two different bills at this point, in two different committees: first here & second here.

In particular, the first bill guts the essential health benefits section of the PPACA, 42 U.S. Code § 18022 . That section also limits the amount of profit insurers can make on each plan, with the goal of making them spend most of your premium dollar on actual health care. Without that section, sick people will pay more for plans that cover less. [edit 3/6: misread of the bill; it only sunsets certain provisions on plan categories, ie. bronze, silver, gold, platinum]

It also has a punishing ‘continuous coverage’ provision  – a penalty on losing your health insurance, meant to make it harder for sick people to re-enter the market. Instead, it pushes sick people into with state-run high-risk pools, badly underfunded at $15 billion a year. The first bill also pushes Medicaid cuts back to 2020.

The second bill is a collection of tax cuts, most of which will benefit rich people.

Still not clear is how key protections for sick and disabled people – like community rating, bans on recissions, and protections for people with pre-existing conditions – are affected.

But one thing is now clear: this bill is not better. Not everyone is covered. The coverage is skimpier and more expensive. Some sick people will lose coverage. Some will die.

We will continue to fight to protect the gains made by the PPACA.

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