It has been a little over a week since the Senate passed their tax reform bill. As the chambers continue to negotiate the differences between the House and Senate versions, a great deal of uncertainty remains as to the final product, especially as it pertains to health care provisions in the bill. Senator Collins (R-ME) voted in support of the bill with the condition that two stabilization bills pass before the year ends in order to off set the negative impacts of repealing the individual mandate. One bill, known as Alexander-Murray, would temporarily restore cost-sharing subsidies to insurers. The second, Collins-Nelson, would fund a two-year reinsurance program helping health plans cover particularly expensive patients. However, health policy experts are not convinced that these two stabilizing bills would truly mitigate the impact of repealing one of the most important pieces of the Affordable Care Act. In fact, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that repealing the mandate would lead to 13 million people losing their coverage and premiums could rise by 10 percent. It would put more pressure on an already unsteady Obamacare market as it could lead to an exodus of healthy people and cause insurers to raise prices to cover the cost.
The health care community is united in opposition to repeal of the individual mandate, including the American Academy of Family Physicians, American Medical Association, America’s Health Insurance Plans, American Hospital Association, Blue Cross Blue Shield Association of America, and the Federation of American Hospitals.
As Bloomberg News reported, it is by no means clear that either of the health care bills Collins bargained for will get anywhere in the House, where conservatives regard the measures with disdain. While the negotiations around the tax bill are shaky, now is a key time to make sure Members of Congress know that the public doesn’t want to repeal the individual mandate. Please call your Members today at (844) 257-6227 and tell them tax reform should not come at the expense of cancer patients.
While this year’s ACA open enrollment is outpacing years past, final numbers are expected to be lower since the Administration has cut the time of enrollment in half. 4.5 million Americans can get covered at NO premium. They must just apply by 12/15. If you, or a friend or family member needs to sign up for health insurance, visit getamericacovered.org today!