Slavitt: GOP’s War on Health Care Goes Underground

Cramer supports GOP-insider efforts to dismantle critical health care protections, strip millions of Americans of their health coverage

(BISMARCK, ND) — While Kevin Cramer describes that the disastrous American Health Care Act’s failure to become law as a “missed opportunity,” he and his Washington cronies have been busy behind the scenes working to limit access to affordable health care.

Former Acting Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Andy Slavitt took to Vox to explain how the Republicans are working in the shadows to achieve the same goals laid out in the AHCA.

As a member of the Committee on Energy and Commerce, which oversees health care legislation, Kevin Cramer should know 300,000 North Dakotans with pre-existing conditions are at risk of losing the ability to afford health coverage – he heard from many of them directly who begged him not to support ripping away their coverage last year. But instead, he decided to side with Washington power-players instead of them. Now, his actions will have made him responsible for skyrocketing premiums and rising uninsured rates:

Vox: The Republican cold war on the Affordable Care Act

  • The defeat of the Republican legislative push to repeal Obamacare was essential. Had it been passed by Congress, the American Health Care Act, which passed the House almost exactly a year ago, would have caused 23 million Americans to lose coverage by the middle of the next decade, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. Most of those losing coverage would have been lower-income or older citizens.

  • The frontal assault was turned back, but Republicans this year pivoted to a more covert attack on the ACA. This cold war has the same aims as last year’s controversial legislation. All that’s different are the tactics.

  • In December, the administration finally achieved its goal of eliminating the individual mandate, tucking the provision into a package that cut rates for corporations, people with wealthy estates, and, to a lesser and varying degree, individuals.

  • The individual mandate was a central tenet of the ACA. The CBO concluded that eliminating it would increase health insurance premiums by about 10 percent almost every year over the next decade in the individual market.

  • Virginia became the first state to file preliminary insurance rates for 2019, and the numbers show the effect of these actions. The state will see rate increases of up to 64 percent, before factoring in premium subsidies to those who qualify. Insurers pointedly blame Trump policies for the rise. Other states that have released filings are showing similar effects.

  • Protections for people with preexisting conditions — as many as 130 million Americans, and growing every day — are also under attack. The Trump administration is using its executive authority to approve the sale of junk insurance plans that had been outlawed or severely limited under President Barack Obama.

  • The cold war on Obamacare is having an effect. The uninsured rate has begun to creep back up since Trump became president. After several years of major declines under Obama, the uninsured rate has grown from 10.9 percent to 12.2 percent, according to Gallup. It’s not hard to imagine, in just one Trump term, that we could see half of the gains made under the ACA, which led to 20 million Americans being newly covered, erased.