GOP health bill a far cry from Trump promises

Pennsylvania capitol in Harrisburg courtesy

In the Senate, GOP lawmakers representing states that expanded the joint federal-state program for low-income and disabled Americans want to ensure their constituents don't lose coverage.

That is to say that without some change, Americans will soon be spending $20 of every $100 on health care, leaving less for housing, food, clothing, education and anything else they might want to buy - vacations, concerts, cars and more.

As a candidate and as president, Trump has made reassuring promises about health care. But under the AHCA, those who work longer hours or earn a raise or take a second job to cross the poverty line will be slapped with a huge health insurance tab.

The Paragould, Arkansas, resident had been uninsured for five years prior to Obamacare because she couldn't afford the $3,000 in monthly premiums for an individual market policy. Why are for-profit insurance companies involved in our health care anyway?

Yet even in the unlikely possibility that the move would bring Democrats to the table and help pass the American Health Care Act, the law that's ultimately passed would need time to go into effect.

AARP, on behalf of its more than 870,000 members in Arizona, urges Senators McCain and Flake to scrap the AHCA and start from scratch on legislation that will protect Medicare, lower costs, improve quality and provide affordable coverage to all Americans. "I don't care what they say", said Treece, who voted for Trump. At its worst, if my son or I become ill, the costs could cripple the expansion of my business.

For me, the most concerning thing about the AHCA is the unpredictability of my coverage. "Every Republican who voted for this bill is being held accountable, whether it is someone like [U.S. Rep. Bill] Posey or [U.S. Rep. Daniel] Webster, people really all across the state are saying if you voted for this bill we will hold you accountable".

Kaiser surveyed 1,205 adults in mid-May. It is accurate that the AHCA rolls back Obamacare's massive Medicaid expansion so states can focus resources on those who truly can't help themselves, like children with special needs, but NOBODY now on Medicaid will be kicked off. On the other hand, 49% of those surveyed had a favorable view of Obamacare, compared with 42% holding an unfavorable view.

Now, the GOP's laser focus on lowering premiums could undermine comprehensive coverage that consumers also value, such as the current guarantees that people with medical problems can get health insurance, or that plans will cover costly conditions such as substance abuse. For example, some key provisions garner very little support: Shifting more of the expense from younger to older people (19 percent), allowing insurers to charge more for sick people (22 percent) and cutting support for poorer Americans (26 percent).

Drilling down to Republicans, only 30 percent said the bill delivered on all or most of Trump's health care promises.

Most of the Republicans polled said they wanted minor changes to the bill, most independents said they wanted major changes to the bill, and the majority of Democrats said they didn't want it passed at all.

That could be due at least in part to recent reports of the "scoring" of the AHCA by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, which estimated that the House's plan would result in savings but also cost 23 million Americans their health insurance.

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