ACA Is In Peril…Again

It feels like we have been on high alert for months regarding the future of the ACA. When we thought the repeal was beaten back and would not pass the House, it came back and passed. Late last week we learned that the closed-door meetings with select Republican Senators resulted in a bill, and that bill would be put to a vote in just a week’s time with no public hearings or debate. Just today we have learned that they don’t have the votes they need yet, and the vote has been delayed until after the July 4th holiday.

We’ve written about why the house plan would be so disastrous for Local 21 members. Regardless of your political beliefs, it is clear that catastrophic budget cuts will occur in the event that such a bill becomes law, and that the pain would likely be shared across non-healthcare departments in an attempt to continue to provide services to the most vulnerable in our state. This bill will affect every Local 21 member across the Bay Area.

Local 21 members who provide health services to the public, or have friends and family who depend on them, will be doubly impacted by drastic cuts to the number of insured and to Medi-Cal. Local 21 members are calling for activism to stop this bill from becoming law.

Here is the quick and dirty breakdown of the Senate plan as it currently stands:

  • The Senate Health Care Repeal Bill is very similar to the House bill, except even worse on a number of critical fronts.

  • It raises costs of premiums and deductibles especially for seniors, the poor, and the middle class. For example, the average 60 year-old person earning $42,000 per year would have to pay $5,000 more per year for health care.

  • It makes even bigger cuts to Medicaid, which covers low-income people, 64% of people in nursing homes, and 49% of births.

  • For some groups premiums are predicted to fall- but that will be tied to plans that will no longer be required to cover essential health benefits such as maternity care, mental health care, and prescription drug coverage. For plans that do cover essential health benefits? Costs may go up significantly.

  • 22 million more people are predicted to lose coverage over the next 10 years by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). Because of the sharp reduction in subsidies helping poorer people to buy plans, and the increase in out-of-pocket costs for these plans, the CBO says that “few low-income people would purchase any plan.”

  • The wealthiest people in America would get a massive tax break while healthcare is cut across the country. “Those in the top 0.1%, earning $5 million or more, would receive an average tax cut of nearly $250,000 in 2026, according to a new analysis by the Tax Policy Center. Those in the top 1%, who earn $875,000 and up, would see an average tax savings of $45,500 a year.” –CNN Money

  • While there hasn’t been enough time to analyze exactly how the Senate plan would affect CA, there has been work done on how the House bill would impact the state. For example, $6 billion in Medicaid/Medi-Cal costs would shift to CA in 2020, rising to an annual cost shift of $24.3 billion by 2027.

It’s clear that the impact on Local 21 members and their communities would be severe. We are encouraging concerned members to make their voices heard by participating in phone banks aimed at assisting members in key districts to contact their Senators and say NO to a health plan for the rich.