Health Repeal Myths & Facts: The Fight Continues

Health Repeal Myths & Facts: The Fight Continues

Congress is on recess, but we can’t be – the health care repeal debate continues!  In their home states and through tough, ongoing negotiations, Senators are making up their minds about the future of the ACA, Medicaid, and Medicare.  This CMA Alert provides updated “Myths & Facts” about the most recent potential changes to the health care bills to inform your advocacy to protect these key programs.

MYTH

FACT

Myth: Congress is taking a break from working on the proposed health care bills Fact: Sen. McConnell continues to work behind the scenes over the July 4th recess (which runs until the Senate returns on July 10th and the House returns on July 11th) to secure votes of reluctant Senators by offering minor changes to the bill; changes that will not mitigate its real harm. It is crucial to make your voices heard: Below are some events where you can tell members to protect our care!

Myth: The proposed health care bills (the American Health Care Act/House and the Better Care Reconciliation Act/Senate) do not cut Medicaid Fact: CBO released a long-term analysis and found that after 20 years, Medicaid would be cut by 35% under the Senate’s BCRA:

Myth: Medicare pays for nursing home care, so a cut in Medicaid does not impact nursing home care Fact: Medicaid, NOT MEDICARE, is the primary payer for long-term care, including $55 billion in 2015 for nursing homes.  Generally, Medicare pays only up to 100 days of nursing home care.  Almost two-thirds of long-term nursing home care is paid for by Medicaid.

Myth: The proposed health care bills (the American Health Care Act and the Better Care Reconciliation Act) protect people with preexisting conditions Fact: The ACA provides consumer protections that enable millions of Americans with medical conditions to obtain affordable, adequate health coverage in all states’ individual insurance markets, by barring insurers from denying coverage to people with preexisting health conditions, and by requiring insurers to charge people the same premium, regardless of their health status, and to provide a comprehensive array of benefits and cost-sharing protections. Reports of a proposed amendment by Sen. Cruz state that it would allow insurers to bypass ACA rules requiring that they accept all customers regardless of pre-existing conditions; vary premiums based only on age without ACA imposed limits; set no annual or lifetime benefit limits; and offer 10 minimum essential benefits in all plans.

Myth: The proposed health care bills (the American Health Care Act and the Better Care Reconciliation Act) will lower costs Fact: Millions of people would have skimpier coverage and care, and greater out-of-pocket expenses:

Myth: The proposed health care bills (the American Health Care Act and the Better Care Reconciliation Act) do not impact middle class families Fact: Millions of middle-income Americans get their coverage through the ACA marketplaces. In 2014, 1 in 5 marketplace consumers was a small business owner or self-employed. The marketplaces are also an especially important source of coverage for early retirees and people who work at small firms, which are less likely to offer health coverage:

Myth: The proposed health care bills (the American Health Care Act and the Better Care Reconciliation Act) do not impact employer based health insurance coverage and costs Fact: States could directly use the waiver authority included in the Senate bill to eliminate the requirement that individual and small group plans cap annual out-of-pocket spending. States could also indirectly weaken or effectively eliminate both the ACA’s requirement that plans limit out-of-pocket spending and its ban on individual and lifetime limits by setting a definition of “essential health benefits” that is weaker than the definition under current law.

Myth: The proposed health care bills (the American Health Care Act and the Better Care Reconciliation Act) do not impact oral health care Fact: A repeal of the Affordable Care Act would put more than 6.7 million adults at risk of losing oral health/dental coverage.

Myth: The proposed health care bills (the American Health Care Act and the Better Care Reconciliation Act) provide enough funding to handle the opioid crisis Fact: The disastrous cuts to Medicaid in the health care bills would cripple the ability to handle the opioid crisis. Without adequately funding Medicaid, even the $45 billion increase in opioid funding that is being discussed is woefully inadequate. Some estimates find that it will cost more than $183 billion over ten years to cover the lost ACA coverage and to fight the nation’s opioid epidemic.

Myth: Congress has already heard from you, so you don’t need to call members anymore Fact: Congress is still working on this legislation.  It is as important as ever to make your voice heard. Tell members not to cap or cut Medicaid, or repeal the ACA.  Tell them to protect our care!