The Black AIDS Institute
Recently, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office analysis projected that over 10 years, the Republican American Health Care Act would cause over 24 million Americans to find themselves without health coverage, with 14 million losing their insurance in the first year, while reducing the budget deficit by $337 billion over 10 years. Now, the Republican spin has been to attack CBO’s calculations about the number of people who would lose their coverage, while touting the plan’s positive impact on the national deficit.
There might be “good news” and “bad news” from their perspective. Don’t believe the lies. There is no “good news” here, but there are lots and lots of very bad news:
• Insurance premiums will go up: The bad news is that under the new plan, the premiums in the short term will go up – by as much as five times for older adults.
• Subsidies: The bad news is under the Republican health plan, if you qualify for a subsidy, it comes as a tax credit when you file your taxes. Under the ACA, the tax credit is applied up front, reducing your out-of-pocket expenses and making health coverage both accessible and feasible.
• Reduction in benefits: The bad news is that when you begin to give states block grants that are smaller than the amount they are currently getting for their Medicaid allotment, states will reduce benefits. The first benefits that are likely to go are going to be the benefits the most dramatically impact poor people, marginalized people, and historically disenfranchised people. Do you know any of those people?
Now, let’s talk about deficit reduction: According to OMB, the federal deficit will go down because the Republican plan will insure fewer people and offer fewer benefits. As a result, it will cost less. Don’t get it twisted. This is BAD news.
Particularly if you’re a person living with HIV/AIDS, a poor person, a person with other chronic illnesses or an older American – regardless of what lie the administration or the Congress tries to sell to you – ask yourself this: Is my health insurance likely to be more robust, better and cheaper under the new plan than it was under the Affordable Care Act? Then mobilize accordingly.
So, let’s review: Under the Republican American Health Care Act, fewer people receive coverage, that coverage is inferior, and it comes at a higher cost and greater risk. The president fancies himself the ultimate dealmaker. This is a deal that we cannot afford.
The good news is it is a bill and not yet the law. There is still time for us to stand up, speak up and fight!
Phill Wilson is the president and CEO of The Black AIDS Institute, the only national HIV/AIDS think tank in the United States focused exclusively on Black people. Wilson can be contacted through firstname.lastname@example.org.