I drafted this letter before the ridiculous vote in the Senate last week. I was on vacation when I tried to publish this, and a little bit behind. But a version of this did get to Senator Toomey, and a thank you to Senator Casey.
Dear Senator Toomey,
I am writing regarding the Better Care Reconciliation Act, the healthcare bill from the Senate, and about the Senate’s attempt to repeal and replace Obamacare in general.
Just, stop it.
The BCRA is a disaster of a bill that will hurt Pennsylvanians, not just those who have been able to get healthcare under the ACA. The ACA increased the number of Pennsylvanians who were able to get health insurance, financial security for low-income people, and access to treatment for opioid addiction and mental health issues.
The BCRA is worse than the House bill, the American Health Care Act, which is impression, because the AHCA is pretty terrible. Here is what the BCRA does worse:
- Kills Medicaid expansion in Pennsylvania, leaving the state to cover, over the next three years, 90 percent of the cost of people added to the program. This creates a $3 billion annual funding gap, which would effectively lead our state to dropping the Medicaid expansion program — leading to sick people unable to get care.
- Reduces funding overall to Medicaid. States will have to make up the difference with their own funds; cut programs by reducing the number of people they serve or the number or health benefits they receive; cut payment rates to providers. This will reduce access to health care for low-income populations.
- Makes insurance subsidies less generous. This would most affect older, lower-income citizens. A silver plan for seniors under the ACA (with seniors defined as 64 or older) costs $6750 a year in premiums. Under BCRA, that cost nearly triples to $18,250 per year.
- Consumer protection: BCRA allow insurers to charge people with pre-existing conditions more. It also ends certain essential health benefits at the insurer’s discretion, ending things like maternity care, prescription drug benefits, and addiction treatment.
Don’t pass this bill. Vote no. The President, the leader of your party, has the lowest approval rating of any President, and he’s only six months into his term. Why would you give him a victory at the cost of the people in your state depending on you? You can be a hero, Senator Toomey.
I strongly urge you to vote NO on Trumpcare, and NO on “repeal now and replace later.” Work with your colleagues in the Congress, both moderate Republicans and Democrats, to shore up the ACA, and make it continue to work for the American people, especially the most vulnerable populations, including children, the disabled, and seniors.
Thank you for your time.