(BISMARCK, ND) – Today, Senate Republicans finally released the full text of their health care legislation, which was drafted behind closed doors in a highly secretive process without allowing public hearings.
Here’s what the bill’s details reveal:
Imposes even deeper cuts to Medicaid – The bill would impose even deeper cuts to Medicaid than the House version, which effectively eliminates Medicaid expansion and cuts funding for non-expansion Medicaid by $880 billion. In North Dakota, 20,000 individuals who gained health coverage through Medicaid expansion would stand to lose access to care. Additionally, tens of thousands of North Dakotans who depend on non-expansion Medicaid would face significantly reduced or eliminated coverage, including 36,000 low-income North Dakotan children. Critical care access hospitals throughout rural North Dakota also depend on Medicaid funding to help keep their doors open.
Guts protections for patients with pre-existing conditions – The bill allows insurance companies to water down health care plans by allowing states to opt out of requiring “essential health benefits.” Essential health benefits cover services like maternity care, substance abuse treatment and behavioral health services, as well as other provisions that guarantee patients are provided quality coverage. As many as 300,000 North Dakotans have pre-existing conditions, which can include asthma, cancer, diabetes, or even being pregnant. These patients would face substantially increased health care costs, putting quality health care out of reach for many.
Provides tax cuts for the wealthy – Perhaps the cruelest aspect of the Senate Republican health care bill is that it would devastate health coverage for tens of thousands of North Dakotan families – and millions of Americans nationwide – all while giving billions of dollars in tax breaks to the most affluent and special interests, like national insurance companies that pay their CEOs over $500,000.
In response to the release of Senate Republicans’ health care bill, Democratic-NPL executive director Robert Haider said:
“As expected, this legislation closely mirrors Kevin Cramer’s so-called ‘health care’ bill, which rips health coverage away from over 30,000 North Dakotans, while increasing premiums for average North Dakotans by about $800 per year. It would gut protections for patients with pre-existing conditions, increase out-of-pocket health care costs, and devastate Medicaid, which provides health coverage to 93,000 North Dakotans, including 36,000 children whose health care would be jeopardized. It does all of this while also cutting taxes for the most affluent individuals and special interests groups. That’s cruel, plain and simple, and it’s wrong for North Dakota.”