New York, NY – U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today urged her Senate colleagues to reject the disastrous American Health Care Act (AHCA) that passed the House of Representatives earlier this week on a party-line vote. If Trumpcare passes the Senate and becomes law, at least 24 million Americans would lose their health coverage and insurance companies would once again be allowed to charge people with preexisting conditions unaffordable prices for their insurance plans. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 84 percent of Americans over 55 have a preexisting condition. Trumpcare would also remove the lifesaving protections for women and mothers under the Affordable Care Act. The bill would allow states to opt-out of requiring insurance companies to include maternity care and women’s preventive health coverage in their medical insurance plans.
“If Trumpcare becomes law, then 24 million Americans would be left stranded without the health care they need, and there is no doubt that New Yorkers over 50 and women would suffer the most,” said Senator Gillibrand. “For thousands of families in our state, this is literally a fight to stay alive, and now that the bill passed the House on a party-line vote, this fight is more urgent than ever. We must prevent this cruel and dangerous bill from ever becoming law, and I urge everyone to raise their voices and speak out against it as forcefully as they can.”
“The AHCA is nothing less than an assault on America’s health care delivery system, and the hospital community will continue to fiercely oppose it,” said Greater New York Hospital Association (GNYHA) President Kenneth E. Raske. “With this disastrous bill now before the Senate, GNYHA and our member hospitals are very grateful to Senator Gillibrand for her strong public opposition to it, and for urging her fellow Senators to reject it.”
“Millions of New Yorkers with pre-existing health conditions are counting on Sen. Gillibrand, Sen. Schumer, and their colleagues to protect Americans’ right to affordable health care and coverage, and we’re relieved they’re on our side,” said Mark Hannay, Director of Metro New York Health Care for All, and Co-Chair of Health Care for All New York. “Twenty five years ago, New York enacted historic legislation banning insurers from discriminating against people based on their gender, age, occupation, or health history, and those protections are now a central part of our insurance markets and political culture. We have a lot at stake here in New York when it comes to the future of the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid.”
If the American Health Care Act that just passed the House becomes law, the following changes would take effect nationwide:
- Under the Affordable Care Act, insurance companies can only charge 50-64 year olds a maximum of three times more than they charge 21 year olds. Trumpcare would allow insurers to charge five times as much or allow states to waive that rule and establish their own ratios without any limit on how high they can go.
- Under the Affordable Care Act, insurers may not set different rates for those with pre-existing conditions. Trumpcare would allow states to charge higher monthly premiums to those with pre-existing conditions. This would once again allow women to be charged more than men for medical insurance.
- Trumpcare would cut Medicaid’s budget by 25 percent – $880 billion – over 10 years. This would take away essential services from a wide range of Americans including patients in nursing homes and disabled children in schools.
- Trumpcare would defund Planned Parenthood for one year, which would likely force many Planned Parenthood clinics to shut down. New York has 59 Planned Parenthood centers and more than 186,000 Planned Parenthood patients.
- Trumpcare would single out New York and California and eliminate federal tax credits for citizens in these two states, because their state laws require health insurance plans to offer abortion services.
- Trumpcare would give two tax cuts to wealthy Americans earning more than $250,000 a year – costing $274.9 billion.
- Under the Affordable Care Act, all insurance programs – both employer-provided and individual plans bought through healthcare.gov – must provide 10 essential health benefits, which are listed below. Trumpcare would allow states to waive that rule and force sick Americans to pay much higher fees in order to access these essential services:
- Outpatient care, such as a doctor’s visit for the flu;
- Trips to the emergency room, which can cost more than a month’s rent;
- Inpatient treatment in the hospital, which for an average three-day stay can cost $30,000;
- Care before and after a baby is born, which can cost $50,000 for a C-section without insurance;
- Mental health and substance use disorder services, which includes behavioral health treatment, counseling, and psychotherapy;
- Prescription drugs, which nearly half of all Americans took in the last thirty days;
- Services and devices to help injured individuals recover, as well as those with disabilities or chronic conditions, such as physical and occupational therapy, speech-language pathology, and psychiatric rehabilitation;
- Lab tests, which can have widely varying costs even for simple blood tests;
- Preventive services, including counseling, cancer screenings, and vaccines to keep individuals healthy and manage chronic diseases; and
- Pediatric services, including dental care and vision care for children.
All of these services would be considered non-essential and therefore could cost patients even more money under Trumpcare.
Gillibrand was joined by patients and advocates.