Senate Health Bill Would Increase Uninsured By 23 Million and Cripple Medicaid

NALC Legislative Dept

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) introduced the Better Care Reconciliation Act this week, following seven years of promising the repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA, also known as Obamacare) and after weeks of negotiations following the House of Representatives’ passage of the American Health Care Act (H.R. 1628), a bill that the Senate said it could not and would not pass.

The Senate’s legislation, which is different from what the House passed in May, is expected to be voted on in tMitch McConnell 2he Senate next week before senators depart Washington, DC, for the July 4 recess. Following that vote, the Senate and House bills will need to be reconciled before a single bill heads to President Donald Trump’s desk for a signature. Both measures are projected to increase the number of Americans who are uninsured by about 23 million.

With Senate floor action expected next week, all letter carriers should contact their senators and urge them to oppose this attack on middle-class workers and their families.

Among the defining characteristics of the legislation are provisions to deregulate insurance companies, which would allow them to charge older and sicker Americans more for health insurance, and to eliminate the individual mandate to buy health insurance and the mandate for larger companies (with 50 or more employees) to provide employer-sponsored health coverage.

Ending the individual mandate would undermine the individual insurance market and the Obamacare health care exchanges, while ending the employer mandate would help non-union companies drop coverage to gain an advantage over unionized firms.

Over time, the bill would cripple Medicaid by cutting hundreds of billions of dollars from the federal-state program that covers tens of millions of disabled Americans, poor children and the elderly in nursing homes, a program that was expanded by the ACA to cover more of the working poor. Such a move would force states to deny coverage to millions of low-income Americans.

In addition, the bill would reduce tax credits for health premiums purchased on health care exchanges and repeal virtually all of the taxes on high-income Americans and health insurance companies, all of which helped to fund Obamacare’s expansion of health insurance to more than 20 million American families.

The bill also would give all 50 states the opportunity to drop benefits required by the ACA, such as maternity care, emergency services and mental health treatment. While it retains protections for patients with pre-existing conditions (insurers must accept everyone and charge the same rates), the legislation would allow states to waive insurance requirements. This waiver includes rules governing which benefits must be covered, thereby allowing states to drop coverage on troublesome, expensive conditions. Reducing coverage requirements is a convenient way for lawmakers to promise continued pre-existing conditions protection without actually having to deliver it—insurance companies could simply choose not to cover chronic ailments that afflict millions of Americans.

Enactment of this legislation would result in a massive tax cut for the wealthiest Americans. The only Obamacare tax preserved is the so-called “Cadillac-tax,” an excise tax on health benefits above a certain value that is expected to raise insurance premiums for letter carriers and other middle class workers.

With Senate floor action expected next week, all letter carriers should contact their senators and urge them to oppose this attack on middle-class workers and their families. The number for the Senate switchboard is 202-224-3121.

(photo:ABC Columbia)

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Call Burr and Tillis and Demand Them to Oppose Bill That Would Leave 1 Million North Carolinians Without Insurance

From Action NC:

Moments ago, Senate Republicans released the details of their plan to destroy the Affordable Care Act and take health coverage from millions of Americans. It’s just as bad as we thought it would be.

If this feels like déjà vu, you’re not far off.    Call Congress 2

Senators Thom Tillis and Richard Burr have been working with Republican leadership to draft a bill that would cut spending on health care to pay for tax breaks for the wealthy. Republicans in Congress plan to hold zero public hearings before they hold a final vote on their repeal bill, which we expect next week!

But we cannot let Senators Tillis and Burr fast-track a bill that could make more than 1 million North Carolinians uninsured. We need you to reach out to Senator Thom Tillis and Senator Richard Burr now to demand that they drop their secret bill to cut health care to pay for tax breaks.

Just take two minutes of your day, dial 1-866-426-2631, and use the script below to hold Tillis and Burr accountable.

What you can say when someone answers the phone:

Dear Senator,

Senate Republicans are drafting a secret bill to slash Medicaid and repeal the Affordable Care Act, and they will not share it with the public before they vote. As your constituent, I find this lack of transparency unacceptable. Share your secret bill with your constituents so we can evaluate it.

While we do not know details of your hidden bill, we ask you to do the following:

  • Oppose any bill that caps or cuts Medicaid funding — over one million children and many seniors and people with disabilities in our state rely on it.
  • Oppose any bill that would increase the number of uninsured in our state.

Instead of repealing the ACA, I want you to work to improve the current system.

Having trouble getting through?  Here’s Senator Burr’s office number: 202-224-3154. And this is Senator Tillis’s number: 202-224-6342.

 

Key to Balancing the Budget: Repeal! Repeal!

By Richard Thayer

Unbiased, impartial, fair and balanced Foxy News Reporter: Congratulations, Congressman Snidely on your victory this past week in voting to repeal the job-killing, budget-busting health reform law. You and your colleagues did a fantastic job this past week. And, while I’m shamelessly gushing here, I’d also like to add that you and your fellow lawmakers were extremely civil and not once, not one time, did you refer to the president as the Anti-Christ.

Snidely: Thank you, thank you (feigning humility). But I think that’s a given.

Reporter: What do you and your colleagues plan to introduce as a bill to replace the law you’re attempting to repeal?

Snidely: Uh, well, we don’t really have a plan as such just yet. We’ve been working really hard on repealing the present law and haven’t had much time to come up with a viable alternative yet. But we do have a title for the bill.

Reporter: Super. Lay it on me.

Snidely: (Expanding with pride) It will be called: “The Job-Birthing, Budget-Building, Anti-Obama Care Health Reform Act.”

Reporter: (Obviously impressed) That’s truly an inspired title for the bill, Congressman.

Snidely: I can’t take all the credit for that. Actually our 15-member committee came up with the title. After a couple of weeks.

Reporter: Since you don’t actually have a bill to replace the law that you’re attempting to repeal, what’s next on the agenda?

Snidely: Well, since we’re on a roll repealing stuff, we thought we’d spend some more time repealing some other laws that’re on the books. We figured that since we’ve got some momentum going here, we might as well take advantage of it.

Reporter: Great idea. We have way too many laws on the books as it is.

Snidely: Right on.

Reporter: So what’re you planning on repealing next?

Snidely: Well, as you are aware, we’re spending way too much money on unnecessary stuff in this country. Beginning this coming week we’re going to start repealing every law that’s costing taxpayers’ money. We’re talking billions of dollars here.

Reporter: Sounds inspired. Can you give us some examples?

Snidely: You betcha. High on our hit list are the so-called entitlement programs: Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, unemployment benefits, astronomical wages and benefits for those sorry federal workers, things like that. We also need to repeal restrictions on big oil, big banks, insurance companies, corporations making over a zillion dollars a year, Wall Street, and so on. They’ve suffered enough. Oh, and first and foremost, we need to repeal what’s-his-name up there in the White House. Repealing him is our number-one priority.

Reporter: President Obama.

Snidely: Yeah, that’s it. Does that sound like an American name to you? Obama? How many Americans do you know who’re named Obama?

Reporter: Other than his immediate family, I really can’t think of any.

Snidely: I’m not saying he wasn’t born in America, mind you, but that’s a mighty suspicious name. Now if we can get him repealed, then all this other repealing stuff will be a piece of cake. If we can make an example of him, the rest of the Democrats will fall into line.

Reporter: Pardon me for saying this, I know we didn’t rehearse this before going on the air, but I understand that there’s going to be debate this coming week on the filibuster. During the 111th Congress there were nearly 300 filibusters and many believe that this contributed to much of the grid-lock in the Congress. Since you’re in repealing-mode, do you and your colleagues plan on repealing this and replacing it with something more practical?

Snidely: (With a look of utmost contempt on his face) I’ll have you know my party was responsible for that record number of filibusters.

Reporter: (Shamefaced) Oh. Well, not intending to humiliate myself still further, but if the vote is coming up later this week and you’re in a repeal-everything mode, as you said, wouldn’t this contradict your earlier statement?

Snidely: (His contempt deepening still further) Absolutely not. We plan to repeal any proposal that might repeal the current filibuster rule.


Sound and Fury Signifying…What?

By Richard Thayer

As you may have noticed there was a flurry of excitement on Capitol Hill earlier this week as the House of Representatives prepared to vote on the controversial Affordable Care Act, aka, that “job-killing,” no, make that, “job-destroying, budget busting, Obama Care, government takeover socialist” law that was originally passed back in March of last year.

Man, there hadn’t been that much excitement in Congress since Stephen Colbert graced those hallowed halls last year.

After several hours of passionate, but civil (?) debate, the vote was taken late Wednesday afternoon and — surprise!–the House Republicans voted to repeal health reform.

Wow! We didn’t see that coming!

At the close of the day yesterday Republicans were still giddy from their latest victory.

A little giddy myself from all the hoopla going into the vote, I grabbed my trusty clicker first thing this morning and turned on the TV to see what the talking heads had to say about this red-letter date in history.

This is what I’ve found so far:

— Many of our country’s most important and beautiful people attended a state dinner last night for China’s President Hu. (Who?)

— There has been extensive coverage of the VIPs who attended, what they wore, what they said and what they ate (Oooooh).

— Newly elected House Speaker John Boehner was not one of those important, beautiful people who attended the state dinner. I have been told that he had a conflict. It seems he had a tanning bed appointment scheduled at the same time (Decisions, decisions!).

— Comedian Ricky Gervais, in addition to not being invited to the state dinner, probably won’t be invited to next year’s Golden Globes either (Bummer).

— Rush Limbaugh did a hilarious impression of a Chinaman on his radio show.

— A teenager, said to be the Italian prime minister’s lover, says he never laid a hand on her.

— Betty White drank Vodka with David Letterman.

And

— Leonardo Da Vinci’s “Last Supper” has been duplicated using laundry lint.

Then there was the story about the House Republicans voting to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

Okay, now that momentum is in their favor, what do the Republicans plan to repeal next?

As soon as they recover from all the excitement, they’ll let us know.