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The House Republican Health Care Plan—a Betrayal of Working People that Keeps Getting Worse

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka blasted the Republican health care plan on which House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) has announced plans for the House of Representatives to vote later today, stating in a letter:

This legislation is a betrayal of working people who will pay the price for it through medical care they can no longer afford, greater financial insecurity, fewer jobs and lives that end too soon. Though it masquerades as health policy, this legislation is really a massive redistribution of wealth away from working families to give even more to the wealthy few.

What we’ve seen already. We highlighted the major parts of the plan—known officially as the American Health Care Act and unofficially as Trumpcare—last week in another blog post (9 Ways the Republican Health Care Bill Makes Health Coverage in America Unaffordable and Out of Reach). Key takeaways were that the Republican plan, as written at that time:

  • Takes health coverage away from 24 million people.
  • Jacks up premiums for older people, as well as those with lower incomes and living in areas with high medical costs.
  • Guts Medicaid, the program that ensures people struggling the most can get the care they need, by phasing out the Affordable Care Act expansion of Medicaid eligibility to more working-age adults and ending the federal funding guarantee in favor of a fixed per capita contribution.
  • Cuts Medicare funding to give a huge tax break to the wealthy few and prescription drug companies.
  • Taxes the health benefits of millions of working people while giving a huge tax break to health insurers and other companies, as well as the very wealthy.

Changes that make it even worse. Facing some opposition among their own members, President Donald Trump and House Republican leaders say they are making changes to win more votes. Unfortunately, the changes being considered will make things even worse overall. Major revisions that could end up in a final bill include:

  • Even bigger cuts to Medicaid by ending the ACA’s expansion of benefits sooner, giving states the green light to impose new work requirements as a condition for getting Medicaid coverage, and creating a new block grant option for federal funding.
  • Even bigger cuts in Medicare funding by giving the huge tax break to the wealthy few and prescription drug companies a year earlier.
  • Even bigger tax cuts for the wealthy few, as well as for health insurers and other corporations, by starting them a year sooner.
  • Allowing insurance companies to peddle health plans that exclude coverage for things like hospital stays, emergency care, pregnancy and related care, prescription drugs, and mental health and substance use disorder services (i.e., by eliminating the ACA requirement that health insurance cover “essential health benefits”).

There is still time for you to have a say. The House of Representatives has not voted yet. Call your representative now to oppose this health care bill: 1-866-829-3298.

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