Tuesday, May 2, 2017

MORNING PETE: Time to Call Your Elected Representatives to Save ACA Protections of People with Serious Illnesses and Other Pre-existing conditions

According to a May 1 NYT article, entitled "Pushing for Vote on Health Care Bill, Trump Seems Unclear on Its Details", Congress is on the verge of passing a Repeal and Replace bill for the Affordable Care Act that would, among other major deficiencies, include a provision for the Federal government to grant waivers allowing insurers to consider "health status" as a factor in setting rates.

In a nifty bit of legislative sleight of hand, a crucial amendment to the original Ryancare bill on the one hand appears to promise that “Nothing in this act shall be construed as permitting health insurance issuers to limit access to health coverage for individuals with pre-existing conditions.” 

It is this clause that is allowing Trump to claim that people with pre-existing conditions are protected. However, as the NYT article points out:
But the amendment also says that the federal government can grant waivers allowing insurers to consider “health status” as a factor in setting rates. Rates for a person with cancer, diabetes or multiple sclerosis could be far higher than the standard rate, effectively pricing the sick out of the market without technically blocking coverage, critics say.
“Health status underwriting could effectively make coverage completely unaffordable to people with pre-existing conditions,” the American Medical Association said in a letter urging members of Congress to oppose the latest version of the repeal bill.
So, this may be a critical moment to pick up the phone and call your elected representatives to make sure they stand firm against such a cynical and cruel amendment. And, make sure that any Trump-supporters you might know are aware of this attempted sleight of hand on the part of the Republican congress. Again, from the article:

The possibility that Republicans would muster a majority for the repeal bill set off alarms among supporters of the Affordable Care Act. Topher Spiro, the vice president for health policy at the liberal Center for American Progress, declared a “red alert” on Sunday, saying on Twitter, “Only a TIDAL WAVE of calls tomorrow can stop them.” Particularly in districts represented by moderate Republicans, protest groups have organized emergency rallies outside congressional district offices and sent out action alerts asking people to “call, call, call” their representatives.

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