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The Republican Alternative to Obamacare: Pay More, Get Less

Category: Obamacare, Congress

Tags: Obamacare, Affordable Care Act, pre-existing conditions, Republican

After nearly 50 votes, and four years of doing everything they can to dismantle and derail the Affordable Care Act, some Republican opponents to the health care law finally took a different strategy and announced they will propose a health care plan of their own.  Spoiler Alert! It’s not great.

Sens. Tom Coburn (OK), Orrin Hatch (UT), and Richard Burr (NC), are leading the charge in crafting this new plan, and although it is not an official bill yet, they have dubbed their proposal the Patient Choice, Affordability, Responsibility, and Empowerment Act, also known as the CARE Act.  Unfortunately, this plan seeks to take “care” of a lot less people and costs more money.  Here’s what you need to know about how this plan stacks up to Obamacare.

Millions of people would get kicked off their health insurance.
Thanks to Obamacare millions of women families and children now have access to health insurance—including more than six million people who have been determined eligible for Medicaid, in part to states expanding Medicaid, and three million who enrolled in affordable private insurance plans through state-based marketplaces.  The plan proposed by the Republican senators narrows Medicaid expansion, deeming low-income adults without children, ineligible. It would also offer fewer families subsidies to help make health insurance affordable, putting health care out of reach for many.  Moreover, under this proposal, large employers will not be required to provide their employees health care coverage.

Elimination of abortion coverage.
Women’s health opponents are up to their same old tricks.  The proposal will not allow individuals to use their subsidy to purchase insurance coverage that covers abortion, essentially eliminating abortion coverage in private insurance plans.  So much for wanting to promote consumer choice and limiting the role of government in health care…

So Long Preventive Health Care with No Copay.
One of the critical parts of Obamacare is the fact that insurance companies are required to cover a broad range of preventive and essential health benefits including cancer screenings, HIV tests, and access to birth control with no copay.  Already 27 million women have benefitted as a result—it’s no wonder this is one of the most popular benefits. Unfortunately for those 27 million women, the Coburn-Burr-Hatch plan doesn’t require insurance companies to cover preventive care. We wonder how that will go over when people start realizing they have to pay out of pocket for benefits that were previously covered…

The Return of Gender Discrimination.
Before Obamacare, women were discriminated against for pre-existing conditions like pregnancy, and even domestic abuse.  Women were also charged premiums up to 150% more, simply based on their gender.  Under Obamacare, that discrimination is illegal.  Unfortunately, the Republican plan dismantles this, allowing insurance companies to return to the days when being a woman was considered a pre-existing condition.

Oh you have an actual pre-existing condition? That’s too bad.
Under the Republican plan, it would be harder for people to get the care they need.  We would return to the days when not only women could be discriminated against based on their gender, but when insurers could deny you care based on a pre-existing condition.  That’s right; the Coburn-Burr-Hatch plan would remove one of the most popular aspects of the current health care law: the fact that you don’t have to worry if you get sick or lose access to insurance.  The only small exception that the alternate plan would allow is for people with pre-existing conditions who have maintained coverage.

You have health care insurance from your employer? Pull out your pocketbook.
Right now if you get health insurance from your employer, it’s paid for with pre-tax dollars.  Under the Coburn-Burr-Hatch plan employees would have to pay taxes on 35 percent of their monthly health care premium.  What happened to the Republican mantra “no new taxes”?

There are a lot of ins and outs of this plan, but if you’re looking for the Coburn-Burr-Hatch plan to provide more care at a cheaper cost, you’ll have to look elsewhere.  


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