During the July 4th recess, Senators heard from their constituents about problematic provisions of their health proposal. Some Senators returned more steadfast in their opposition. And experts recently estimate that over 900,000 health care workers would lose jobs due to Medicaid cuts under the Senate’s plan. One analysis suggests that Washington State could lose 16,800 jobs.
This week, Senator McConnell announced that the August recess will be delayed 2 weeks while the Senate addresses the health care bill. And today, a new version of the bill was unveiled that retains devastating cuts to Medicaid and also includes an amendment from Senator Ted Cruz to allow insurers to offer “bare bones” plans. These plans would not provide what most people need in order to seek primary and specialty care, manage chronic conditions, or receive behavioral health care. Under the Cruz amendment, an estimated 1.5 million individuals with pre-existing conditions would likely face much higher premiums. While the bill removes some tax breaks for the wealthy that were in previous versions, it retains many others, and expands the opportunity for the well-off to use health savings accounts as tax shelters. It still benefits the healthy and wealthy, at the expense of the poor. A CBO score is expected next week, but we expect them to say that coverage will be even less affordable. There are hints that an alternative Senate Republican proposal may be coming soon that may have more traction with the Democrats. We will keep you posted as we learn more – keep an eye on our Facebook page. Now is the time to TAKE ACTION – including new phone-banking opportunities!
What We’re Listening To: Check out the Kaiser Health News “What the Health” podcast to learn more about the Repeal and Replace efforts. Episode 2 (July 6) breaks down the proposed changes to the Better Care Reconciliation Act in just the first 6 minutes!