By Ross Peter Nelson
The GOP(Don’t)Care Bill
After six years of whining, followed by a frantic few months of pretending they had a plan, the Republicans finally offered up a GOP(Don’t)Care health bill, to . As bad as it is, it’s worth pointing out in particular how it affects Montana. It’s interesting to note that even Republican lackey Steve Daines has with a mealy-mouthed statement saying, “We can do better.”
The first problem with the AHCA bill is that people will lose their insurance, over 14 million Americans in just a single year, according to the Congressional Budget Office. Clearly those aren’t all in Montana, but that could easily affect 142,000 of us . That is one of every seven people in the state. When people lose coverage, they are sick longer, which means a loss of productivity to employers. It also means a loss of jobs, since fewer workers will be employed at hospitals and clinics. More importantly, some of those people will die due to lack of affordable care.
While this primarily affects people who signed up through the ACA exchanges, people who are covered by their employers will also be effected. Because the ACA mandated coverage, employers were required to offer it. The AHCA removes that mandate, so some employers will stop offering insurance.
The ACHA also breaks a promise made when Trump was campaigning. He said that Medicaid would be untouched. Under the ACHA millions more will be denied Medicaid coverage and the Medicaid budget will be slashed by $880 billion dollars over the next decade.
Individual states like Montana would also have to come up with more money because the AH”CA converts Medicaid from a matching program to a capped subsidy where the states get a fixed amount, regardless of need. That means that either services would be dropped, or the state would have to raise taxes in order to make up the lost Federal funds. Over the next decade, those states (including Montana) would have to come up with to meet the program’s costs.
Montana is a state where about one in seven people are over 60. These are among the hardest hit by the bill. According to , a 60-year old Montana making $30,000/year will lose 50-75% of their current tax credits if AHCA is enacted.
Finally, the AHCA generates a for people who earn over $200,000/year. Unfortunately for the rest of us, only a small fraction of the people here make that kind of money. The end result is that we’ll pay higher taxes, get lower quality care, and subsidize tax breaks for those who need the least help. AHCA doesn’t deserve our support. Make sure your representatives know.