Commissioner Jones responds to Senate Republican ACA repeal bill
News: 2017 Press Release
"The most recent amendments to the Senate Republican's healthcare bill make a bad bill worse. In addition to more than 20 million Americans losing their healthcare coverage under the bill, the new bill opens the door to junk insurance and separate risk pools for the healthy and the sick, which is a recipe for health insurance market death spirals. Senators should reject this most recent effort to deprive Americans of the protections of the Affordable Care Act. Unless President Trump and Congressional Republicans agree now to follow the existing law and fund the cost-sharing reductions, premiums will rise substantially in 2018 and more insurers will exit the market."
The revised Senate Republican ACA repeal bill not only would cost over 20 million Americans their health care coverage, it also creates additional harmful provisions:
- The Cruz amendment would create two separate risk pools, one for healthy people with policies that provide limited, inadequate coverage, and another pool for people with prior history of illness, or who need real care now. The separate risk pool for quality coverage would therefore be driven into a "death spiral," with premiums soaring to the point where it becomes unaffordable. The market for policies providing comprehensive ACA coverage would basically become a high risk-pool where coverage would be very expensive.
- The instability in the insurance market that would occur, threatens coverage for everyone, even the young and the healthy.
- Those who buy Cruz limited benefit plans will be prohibited from trading up to quality coverage without first enduring a 6-month waiting period.
- The Cruz amendment returns us to a day when coverage could be denied, or prices substantially increased for those with pre-existing conditions.
- The Cruz amendment permits plans to exclude coverage of essential health benefits.
- The bill includes a new tax cut for the affluent, enabling them to shelter their premium payments through Health Savings Accounts.
- The bill still includes the dramatic cuts to Medicaid.
- There is no change to the previously proposed "age tax." The bill continues to burden persons over age 59; those with middle incomes would be expected to pay 16 percent of their income on premiums in order to receive subsidies.
- The bill would eliminate federal medical loss ratio protections, which have required insurers to spend a meaningful percentage of premium dollars on actual care.
The California Department of Insurance, established in 1868, is the largest consumer protection agency in California. Insurers collect $310 billion in premiums annually in California. Since 2011 the California Department of Insurance received more than 1,000,000 calls from consumers and helped recover over $469 million in claims and premiums. Please visit the Department of Insurance website at www.insurance.ca.gov. Non-media inquiries should be directed to the Consumer Hotline at 800.927.4357. Telecommunications Devices for the Deaf (TDD), please dial 800.482.4833.