Email #99, Subject: “not trying to leave anyone in the lurch”?

I don’t understand why the GOP has put forward a health care plan that is more flawed than Obamacare.

As you know, the Affordable Care Act combines all recipients into a single, cost-balancing pool. But the American Health Care Act divides recipients into two pools: low risk and high risk. Because the high risk recipients can be charged five times more, keeping them on insurance will cost the government $178 billion. That’s far more than is currently being spent on the same people now enrolled under the ACA.

The Republican bill would cost all taxpayers more because it eliminates the ACA tax penalty for those who don’t sign up for any insurance and because those in low-risk pools would contribute less and so raise prices for high-risk people. alternatively, Secretary Tom Price, the bill’s primary author, has proposed radically underfunding the high-risk pools. At one point he suggested as low as $1 billion. The current proposal is $100 billion—leaving $78 billion unpaid.

You said “We’re not trying to leave anyone in the lurch” and that “There should be more options, not fewer.” But the millions of people who end up in your high-risk pools will be left in the lurch. Instead of more options, they’ll end up with far fewer or none at all. And that’s not because the new plan is merely “flawed” like the ACA. It’s because the plan is designed to fail.

The Republican Congress would intentionally underfund the high-risk pools. You said of high-risk patients currently getting their health insurance through the ACA Medicaid expansion: “We can’t afford this when we have $20 trillion in national debt.” So rather than adding an annual $78 billion to the debt, do you intend to cut off insurance to those who need it most?

If you prioritize the debt over life-saving health care for millions of Americans, then state that fact. Stop pretending the American Health Care Act improves Obamacare. The ACA has one core goal: to provide more health care. Your plan has one goal too: to provide less health care.

I consider that immoral. And a majority of voters across the District 6 do too.

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Author: Chris Gavaler

Chris Gavaler is an assistant professor of English at Washington and Lee University where he teaches creative writing, contemporary fiction, and comics. He has published two novels, Pretend I'm Not Here (HarperCollins 2002) and School For Tricksters (Southern Methodist University 2011), and two nonfictions, On the Origin of Superheroes (Iowa University 2015) and Superhero Comics (Bloomsbury forthcoming 2017).

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