New Attack on Obamacare: Key Points

by Chip Joffe-Halpern 4-23-17

The White House is pressuring House GOP leaders for another showdown vote on repealing Obamacare soon, possibly this week (April 24).

From what we know so far, the latest proposal would include allowing states to apply for “limited waivers” that would undermine Obamacare’s protections for pre-existing conditions. Under these waivers, states could opt out of Obamacare standards setting minimum benefits that health plans must offer and a requirement — called community rating — forbidding insurers from charging different prices to people based on health status.

An outline of his proposal said states could seek to relax “essential benefits” that Obamacare requires insurance plans to cover, such as emergency room trips, maternity and newborn care, and mental health services.  States also could request waivers to Obamacare’s ban on insurers charging sick customers higher premiums than healthy customers. But states would have to establish “high-risk pools” using government funds to help pay for insurance for people with costly medical conditions.

Historically, high-risk pool coverage are prohibitively expensive and there is little evidence to suggest that the existence of such pools made coverage less costly for others in the individual insurance market. People with preexisting conditions may have “access” to coverage, but most will not be able to afford it and those who can will face limited benefits and extremely high deductibles and out-of-pocket payments.

Action – calling Congressman Richard Neal:: (413) 442-0946
Senator Ed Markey: 413-785-4610
Senator Elizabeth Warren: 413) 788-2690

Script: Hi, my name is [NAME] and I’m a constituent from [CITY, ZIP].

I’m calling to object to any future bills aimed at repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act, especially bills that allow waivers for pre-existing conditions, coverage of essential health benefits, and the implementation of high risk pools.  It’s been made clear that the majority of Americans want Congress to focus on making the current law work instead.  Thank you for your hard work answering the phones.

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