by Jim Nintzel
Congresswoman McSally is encouraged that the American Health Care Act includes provisions she fought for: It keeps in place coverage of pre-existing conditions, allows young adults to remain on their parents’ insurance until age 26 and maintains the prohibition of putting lifetime caps on benefits. The congresswoman is carefully reading the 123-page bill, listening to local stakeholders and in the days ahead will work with House leadership for a viable solution to the healthcare challenges facing Southern Arizonans and all Americans.
CBO confirmed this week that the Republican plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act and replace it with "TrumpCare" is nothing more than an attack on the poor and elderly. Twenty-four million people will lose coverage if the GOP manages to force this bill through Congress. Many will choose to forgo health insurance because this bill incentivizes young, healthy people without coverage to remain uninsured. That means higher premiums for everyone else, and particularly the elderly who will no longer be protected from price gouging the way they currently are under the ACA.
The only winners under the GOP’s healthcare repeal are wealthy Americans who stand to pocket a $600 billion windfall in tax breaks. Those cuts, and the meager deficit reduction in this scheme, come at a heavy price for working families and people on Medicaid. For millions of Americans, "TrumpCare" will go down in history as the healthcare equivalent of Trump University – that is to say, a complete and utter sham.
Congress should be focused on finding real solutions that protect access to coverage; not playing partisan politics with the health and wellbeing of millions of Americans,. With hundreds of thousands of Arizonans expected to lose coverage, it is past time for Congress to work together on a bipartisan solution.Gov. Doug Ducey is "thrilled" by what he's seen so far, according to spokesman Patrick Ptak:
This new legislation does nothing to slow or reduce the rising cost of health insurance. Older Arizonans will face higher premiums for less coverage and care, and it will be more difficult for rural hospitals to provide adequate health care. I urge my colleagues to work together to protect the investments we have made in recent years and find a solution that gives our families and seniors relief.
The governor is thrilled to see repeal of Obamacare on its way, and he is glad to have a seat at the table in the discussion about replacement. The current bill is a moving target, and as it works through the process, it's likely to see changes. We are tracking those and advocating for increased state flexibility as well as Arizona's specific needs.
“Flexibility” has become a buzzword among governors critical of the bill. Baker, Snyder,Doug Ducey of Arizona, Bill Haslam of Tennessee, Scott Walker of Wisconsin and Brian Sandoval of Nevada say there is work to be done on the bill to ensure it grants states the flexibility they need.Talking Points Memo caught up with Sen. John McCain:
“The plan that was released doesn’t reflect what the governors want, which is flexibility,” Ducey told a local radio station in Phoenix. “I want flexibility at the state level to improve our health care system, to make these reforms. This is still prescriptive from Washington, D.C."
Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) joined in on the bashing of the CBO, saying they were "wildly wrong on the initial estimates of Obamacare." But McCain admitted to reporters that he has some concerns, especially because Arizona is one of the states that took federal funding to expand Medicaid to hundreds of thousands of people. Under the bill, hundreds of billions of dollars are cut from Medicaid over time.TPM also tried to catch up with Sen. Jeff Flake:
"I'm very worried about what the House bill would do to Arizona," he said.
"I'm still looking at it," said Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ), dashing for the nearest elevator. "I just got off a flight. I haven't had time to study it."