Vail Daily letter: More explanation needed on American Health Care Act
May 21, 2017
Scott Tipton recently wrote a letter to the Vail Daily explaining why he voted for the Republican House of Representatives health care plan — the American Health Care Act — that passed by one vote in Congress. Mr. Tipton tries to ease concerns for citizens with pre-existing conditions by quoting passages from the act.
Mr. Tipton fails to mention the significant American Health Care Act loophole regarding those with pre-existing conditions. That loophole is the portion of the bill, which allows states to have waivers to opt out of the American Health Care Act. This means that by opting out, states may opt out of some of the affordable-care protections, as well, such as what coverage is deemed "essential health benefits."
Mr. Tipton does point out that states that use the waivers must start their own high-risk pools, yet he doesn't discuss Colorado's 23-year experience with providing a high-risk pool known as CoverColorado. Prior to 2014, many of our citizens were deemed "uninsurable." With the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, those citizens could be insured and CoverColorado was no longer needed.
In a recent article in the Denver Post, former Republican state congresswoman and former state insurance commissioner Marcy Morrison said those in our previous high-risk pool were charged 50 percent more than someone of similar age and were subjected to a lifetime benefit cap. CoverColorado was unable to accommodate all those who wanted to be covered, and financially supporting our prior high-risk pool was always a struggle. Ms. Morrison called it "unsustainable."
I understand that the American Health Care Act provides for some minimal help by the federal government with starting the high-risk pools; however, one must question to what degree financial help would be provided, particularly when the current Republican Congressional majority wants to cut more than $800 billion from health care over 10 years in order to fund their large tax breaks to the wealthiest of our citizens, without completely exploding the deficit.
Mr. Tipton should provide a more comprehensive explanation of the bill he voted for and helped pass.
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