It’s worth remembering that one year ago this week the Republicans in the House of Representatives narrowly passed the “AHCA” to modify (replace) the ACA. It was full of provisions that were horrible for average people. As summarized by the website healthreformtracker.org:
“…states could apply for a waiver from the federal government which would essentially allow them to opt out of many provisions of the ACA. Under such waivers, states could allow insurers to charge consumers more based on age, change or eliminate the ACA’s essential health benefits requirements, and charge individuals with pre-existing conditions higher premiums.”
A later amendment threw a few crumbs to the people who would be devastated:
“This amendment creates a fund of $8 billion that would be available to states from 2018 to 2023. This money would go to states that permit insurers to charge higher premiums to individuals with pre-existing conditions, and would be used to offset those higher costs for these individuals.”
Eight billion would be a pittance compared to the actual need. But their destruction of the ACA was followed by the ultimate hypocrisy:
Moments before the main vote, the House voted unanimously to eliminate a provision that would carve out an exception for Congressional members for the AHCA. Essentially this provision made it so state waivers, which would eliminate or modify ACA requirements for pre-existing conditions and essential health benefits, would not apply to members of Congress.
Not only did Faso vote for this final cobbled-together disaster of a bill, but he was also the deciding vote that propelled the original draft out of Committee to a full House vote.
The House bill couldn’t pass in the Senate, but rumors are circulating that a secret group of Republicans have been meeting in hopes of finding a compromise bill that could satisfy both houses of Congress. It’s a long shot in an election year, but nonetheless we should remain alert to the looming danger. The ACA is hanging on by a thread, but it still provides insurance for millions of Americans and thousands of our neighbors in NY-19 who would otherwise be unable to afford legitimate health insurance.
As we approach the Midterms, Faso’s key role in the failed AHCA should be a centerpiece of our battle to unseat him. He wants to replace the ACA with less expensive plans that cover far less, which younger people would likely buy, forcing premiums up for older people and those with pre-existing conditions. It would take us back to the days when people who did not have employer-provided insurance were screwed. The young people who buy the cheaper plans would also be screwed if they ever face an unforeseen major medical crisis, disease or accident. You get what you pay for.
The ACA is more popular than ever, and its flaws could be fixed if only the GOP would get out of the way. But they want to kill it because it became law under a president they disliked (and demonized relentlessly on right-wing hate media). And if people realize that broad-based health insurance actually works, their goal of “drowning the government in the bathtub” would be further from happening.
We need to call the cheaper plans (that have very few mandatory features) something like “garbage plans” because they are a sham, and their real purpose is to destroy the ACA exchanges and take us back to the days when insurance companies could do whatever the hell they pleased. We also need to repeal and replace Rep John Faso, who cares more about keeping taxes low for billionaires than comprehensive care for our fellow citizens. Keep resisting…