Press Release

Florida loses with GOP health care repeal bill

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Washington, March 9, 2017 | comments
The House Energy & Commerce Committee passed the GOP health care repeal bill this afternoon.
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The House Energy & Commerce Committee passed the GOP health care repeal bill this afternoon.

After seven years, Republicans finally revealed their long-awaited repeal bill -- less coverage, fewer protections and higher costs – and it will deliver an especially tough blow to Florida families. 

U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor (FL14) serves as Vice Ranking Member of the House Energy & Commerce Committee, which began consideration of the Republican repeal bill yesterday and continued in a session that lasted more than 24 hours.

“It is unconscionable that House Republicans rammed this repeal bill through committee without understanding how much the bill will cost, the impact on the deficit and how many Americans will lose their health insurance,” U.S. Rep. Castor said. “Republicans repeatedly rejected amendments to protect and fight for patient protections and health care affordability.  We stayed up through the night and forced them to debate and go on record opposing measures that address the concerns that we have all have been hearing about from our neighbors at town halls throughout the country.”

The “Pay More for Less” GOP repeal bill targets Americans who rely on Medicaid services with massive cuts and allows steep increases in the cost of health insurance for everyone, especially older Americans. It also eliminates tax credit support that helped the vast majority of 1.7 million Floridians purchase coverage in the healthcare.gov insurance marketplace. In a break from tradition, the GOP voted to advance the bill without a “score” from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.

“The GOP repeal bill has not been objectively assessed by the Congressional Budget Office as to the impact on individuals and families, and America’s finances. The bill also contains provisions that will, among other things, slash an estimated $370 billion to states that should go to serve children, nursing home patients and our disabled neighbors, and will charge our seniors 50 years and older more for less coverage. This is horrendous.

“Rather than rush a Republican repeal bill, I urge my colleagues to work together to improve health care coverage for families across America. We are at the lowest rate of uninsured in history, we have kept health care costs in check for people with insurance and we can do more by tackling the cost of pharmaceuticals, but that has been left out of the Republican repeal bill. ”

 

GOP Health Care Repeal:  A Blow to FL Families

Over the past several months, U.S. Rep. Castor has been urging her Republican colleagues to listen to their neighbors who have attended public meetings in Tampa Bay and across the nation to plead for the protection of health care by keeping the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in place. U.S. Rep. Castor has heard from thousands at rallies, town hall meetings, constituent meetings as well as through letters and phone calls, who are fearful for themselves and their families if the ACA is done away with.

The Republican repeal bill ignores these pleas to protect the ACA, and Medicaid and Medicare. Moreover, Florida’s children, working-class families and seniors stand to lose even more than other states under this Republican repeal bill.  Since the first ACA enrollment in 2013, Florida has led in the number of signups under the marketplace on healthcare.gov. This year, 1.7 million signed up and their affordable coverage underscores that Florida may have the most at risk under the Republican repeal plan.

Impact of ACA Repeal in Florida

 

Large Loophole Favors Insurance Companies in GOP’s Pre-Existing Conditions Provision

The so called “pre-existing condition” provision in the bill is called “continuous coverage.” While insurance companies aren’t allowed to drop folks who have a pre-existing condition, the GOP bill allows insurance companies to charge a 30 percent premium surcharge if people have a break in coverage--paid directly to insurance companies! Unaffordable coverage is the same as no coverage.

 

No CBO score for Republican Repeal Bill

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) provides Congress with impartial analyses for economic and budget decisions, and with estimates required for the Congressional budget process. News reports suggest that the CBO reported privately to Committee Republicans that this reconciliation bill would have a net cost to the government, rather than achieve savings. Many of its provisions clearly appear to cut coverage for millions. In addition, the bill includes an “age tax” for older neighbors. Rather than wait for the CBO score Republicans jammed this bill through, which would suggest that they do not believe the CBO information helps their case, but instead will paint a dismal picture.

Tax Credits under the Affordable Care Act vs. the American Health Care Act: An Interactive Map

 

Weakened ACA limit on Age Rating Hurts Older Adults

Limiting age-rating is an important ACA protection for older adults that limits the amount insurance companies can charge compared to the amount younger adults are charged for the same coverage. This helps to ensure that older adults who are not yet Medicare-eligible have access to affordable health coverage. The Republican repeal bill allows for our neighbors over 50 to be charged more for less coverage. The limit on age rating almost doubles to 5:1 under the Republican repeal bill. For instance, under 5:1, premiums for a 64-year-old would increase by an average $3,200, according to the AARP.

Weakening Age Rating Protections Will Make Health Care Unaffordable for Older Adults

 

Shifting $370B in Medicaid Costs to States

According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, the Republican repeal bill shifts an estimated $370 billion in Medicaid costs to states over the next 10 years, harming tens of millions of seniors, people with disabilities, and children and parents who rely on Medicaid, whether they reside in states that expanded Medicaid or not, such as Florida.

The Republican repeal bill also converts Medicaid to a per capita cap starting in 2020 in order to give giant tax breaks to the wealthy. Florida faces huge risks under this cap because Florida is such a low, per capita spender but it has such high rates of growth in our disabled and elderly populations relative to rest of the country. In response, states would have to contribute much more of their own funding or, far likelier, substantially cut eligibility and benefits for our hard working neighbors or slash already low payments to providers, with those cuts growing more severe each year, according to the Center.

House GOP Medicaid Provisions Would Shift $370 Billion in Costs to States Over Decade

 

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