Congratulations and a huge thank you to all the UKAN members who called, wrote, emailed, tweeted, and shared about their displeasure of the American Healthcare Act (AHCA)! This was a huge victory for us and a testament to the power of numbers. This is what real democracy looks like!
The Trump administration and the House have indicated that they will be moving toward other issue areas at this time, including tax reform. Believe it or not, we will not get to rest!
Those opposed to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will probably use this opportunity to slash the tax code and appropriations that allows the ACA to work. President Trump has already set the stage, saying that the Affordable Care Act is collapsing. Now, they will continue to make that come true. What do I mean by “continue” to make it come true? Ladies and gentlemen, cue Senator Marco Rubio.
Remember way back when we thought that Rubio might be the president? Good times, right?
During one of those debates, he mentioned a little bit of legislation we should pay attention to: the insurance company “bailout.”
To summarize, Rubio and other republicans led a charge to limit and get rid of a provision of the ACA that helps insurance companies manage their risk. It’s simple, insurance companies were about to take on people they never had on policies before: people with pre-existing conditions. What were they going to charge? Was it going to be enough? To help insurance companies get onto the exchanges, Congress offered some help through “risk corridors” not a “bailout.” Companies that set their premiums very high gave some of that money back to the government in “user fees.” The Department of Health and Human Services decided that money was to be turned around and given to companies that didn’t guess correctly to offset that cost while they figured out their premiums.
So the Senate did what the Senate does, and they passed a spending bill with a rider. (A rider is an amendment to a bill that has nothing to do with the bill it is attached to). This rider would not allow Health and Human Services to spend any money other than “user fees” on this risk corridor. The result? Insurers left the marketplaces or collapsed.
The message here, UKAN members, is to stay on top of the coming legislation, because that is where our next battles will be.
As always, continue to be vigilant, stay informed, and be ready to act in case somebody tries to sneak something through. If you have tips about legislation, please email us at UKAN.firstname.lastname@example.org