Confused about the health care repeal and replace moves in congress this week? You are not alone. News coming in from the hill shows that things are changing quickly. Yesterday debate continued on health care and two votes were held and failed. One was a vote to repeal the ACA with no replacement. The second was a vote on the healthcare bill that the senate has been working on behind closed doors for months.
So what comes next?
The consensus is that the next step will be for the senate to vote on what is being called “skinny repeal”. Although all the details of this proposal are still unknown, it is believed that it will eliminate the individual mandate and employer mandate to have or provide health insurance. This proposal has been criticized by medical professionals, economists, health policy experts and insurance providers, including Blue Cross Blue Shield, as a sure way to destabilize the insurance market and cause major premium increases across the board. Blue Cross issued a statement yesterday stating, “A system that allows people to purchase coverage only when they need it drives up costs for everyone.”
It is important to note that the individual mandate was originally designed by a conservative think tank, Heritage Foundation. The function of the mandate is to include as many healthy people in the system as possible in order to be able to disperse the cost of care for those who need it.
It is also important to note that the individual mandate is the most contested portion of the ACA. Particularly in rural parts of the country, where the marketplace insurers are fewer and offer less coverage for more money, people believe removal of mandates would come as a relief. The financial burden of mandated health insurance is one of the reasons that some people feel so negatively about the ACA, despite the fact that the law has helped so many people afford health insurance who did not have access to it before. Unfortunately, while a skinny repeal would alleviate the obligation to purchase insurance, it would not provide an affordable option when people do wish to purchase insurance.
CALL TO ACTION
- Call your senators once again and tell them to vote NO on the skinny repeal. Encourage them to work on expanding marketplaces and ensuring that the market continues to stabilize with the support of the Congress. Encourage them to work in a bipartisan way, as John McCain so eloquently called for and as 71% of voters prefer, to fix the ACA instead of repealing or replacing it.
Sen. Orrin Hatch (202) 224-5251 (DC) // (801) 524-4380 (SLC) // (801) 375-7881 (Provo) // (435) 634-1795 (St. George) // (801) 625-5672 (Ogden) // (435) 586-8435 (Cedar City)
Sen. Mike Lee 202-224-5444 (DC) // 801-524-5933 (SLC) // 435-628-5514 (St. George) // 801-392-9633 (Ogden)