As one of Trump’s first directives, Republicans have already begun the process of repealing the Affordable Care Act. Without a replacement ready to go, 18 million people risk losing their insurance, the deficit would explode, and an estimated 43,000 people would die each year. Despite these stakes and having had 6 years to come up with one, Republicans have yet to craft a feasible replacement.
But Minnesota Republicans just gave the rest of the country a glimpse of how terrifying their alternate could be. In a bill many see as a possible blueprint for an eventual replacement to the ACA, the Minnesota House introduced and quickly approved a bill that would allow insurers to pick and choose what they want to cover. It even exempts 65 things that under the ACA are required – things like coverage for cancer, access to an OBGYN, and diabetes. Republicans are under the impression that giving insurers more options to opt out of coverage is the solution because something, something, free market.
The scheme is simple: Insurers can offer one plan that covers all required ailments, and then make a bunch of cheaper options covering almost none. The “full coverage” plan will, of course, be extremely expensive. The bare-minimum kind will be cheap… cheap, that is, until you get cancer or pregnant then you are left paying the medical bills out of pocket. Or as Republicans call it “freedom.”
A stunned fellow congresswoman, Rep. Diane Loeffler, posted a partial list of the things that would no longer be covered in insurance plans if this bill is ratified. The list is terrifying.
— Diane Loeffler (@reploeffler) January 20, 2017
Children’s hearing aids, anti-psychotic drugs, anesthesia, nursing home care, prenatal care, cancer screenings… the list goes on.
The amendment’s author, Rep. Steve Drazkowski, is super proud of it though. Naturally, his obsession is with dollars and cents and not human health:
“This is a great first step in reducing the very regulations that contribute to our soaring health care premiums,” he wrote in a press release last week. “Very simply, it gives people choices that could result in lower health care costs. If someone wants to buy a plan that doesn’t include certain benefits and they choose to pay the penalty, this gives Minnesotans that freedom to be covered while lowering their costs.”
Minnesota’s Republican-led house easily approved the bill. Now it will be sent to the state senate. If it passes there, the only thing that can stop it is a veto from the governor.
If this is what Republicans have in mind for a ACA replacement plan, people will need to fight harder than ever to ensure it never happens.
Featured image via Twitter