NALC: Senate Republicans finally reveal their health care bill

NALC – 6-23-17 – Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) introduced the Better Care Reconciliation Act this week, following seven years of promising the repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA, also known as Obamacare) and after weeks of negotiations following the House of Representatives’ passage of the American Health Care Act (H.R. 1628), a bill that the Senate said it could not and would not pass.

The Senate’s legislation, which is different from what the House passed in May, is expected to be voted on in the Senate next week before senators depart Washington, DC, for the July 4 recess. Following that vote, the Senate and House bills will need to be reconciled before a single bill heads to President Donald Trump’s desk for a signature. Both measures are projected to increase the number of Americans who are uninsured by about 23 million.

Among the defining characteristics of the legislation are provisions to deregulate insurance companies, which would allow them to charge older and sicker Americans more for health insurance, and to eliminate the individual mandate to buy health insurance and the mandate for larger companies (with 50 or more employees) to provide employer-sponsored health coverage.

Ending the individual mandate would undermine the individual insurance market and the Obamacare health care exchanges, while ending the employer mandate would help non-union companies drop coverage to gain an advantage over unionized firms.

Over time, the bill would cripple Medicaid by cutting hundreds of billions of dollars from the federal-state program that covers tens of millions of disabled Americans, poor children and the elderly in nursing homes, a program that was expanded by the ACA to cover more of the working poor. Such a move would force states to deny coverage to millions of low-income Americans.

In addition, the bill would reduce tax credits for health premiums purchased on health care exchanges and repeal virtually all of the taxes on high-income Americans and health insurance companies, all of which helped to fund Obamacare’s expansion of health insurance to more than 20 million American families.

The bill also would give all 50 states the opportunity to drop benefits required by the ACA, such as maternity care, emergency services and mental health treatment. While it retains protections for patients with pre-existing conditions (insurers must accept everyone and charge the same rates), the legislation would allow states to waive insurance requirements. This waiver includes rules governing which benefits must be covered, thereby allowing states to drop coverage on troublesome, expensive conditions. Reducing coverage requirements is a convenient way for lawmakers to promise continued pre-existing conditions protection without actually having to deliver it—insurance companies could simply choose not to cover chronic ailments that afflict millions of Americans.

Enactment of this legislation would result in a massive tax cut for the wealthiest Americans. The only Obamacare tax preserved is the so-called “Cadillac-tax,” an excise tax on health benefits above a certain value that is expected to raise insurance premiums for letter carriers and other middle class workers.

With Senate floor action expected next week, all letter carriers should contact their senators and urge them to oppose this attack on middle-class workers and their families.

Please Note: The above article is provided by the NALC and does not reflect the opinion of PEN.

One Response to "NALC: Senate Republicans finally reveal their health care bill"

  1. Postal Joe   June 25, 2017 at 10:42 am

    The NALC says that this legislation would result in a massive “tax cut” for the wealthiest Americans, meaning the wealthy would receive a “windfall” from this bill passing! While I agree with NALCs assessment about this being a bad piece of legislation, doesn’t HR 756, Postal Reform Bill (that the NALC has pushed for) do the same thing in effect? The Postal Unions would receive their own “windfall” from the passage of HR 756 on the backs of present and future retirees by mandating Medicare and forcing them into a new Postal only insurance with a higher priced “risk pool”! I think both of these bills should be opposed!!

    Another good post Postal Joe. Have you seen the NALC’s newest entry “Tell your senators not to take away health care from millions of working people”? Obamacare was a failure without help from anyone. All the major insuring agencies are pulling out from under the ACA. NALC says millions would lose coverage…not true. Medicaid funding would be cut…it SHOULD be cut…basically because there are major flaws in the system that allows coverage for those who really should not qualify. On and on. If the proposals don’t fit their agenda then our unions don’t like it. Instead, they should be courting those in power for benefits of current and retired postal employees…and I do not mean courting the democrats. PAEA should go away…problem solved for USPS.

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