Consumers Union statement on latest Senate bill to repeal, replace Affordable Care Act

Experts

Director, Special Projects
Media Director
Sr. Media Relations Associate
Communications Director

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Contact:  Michael McCauley, mmccauley@consumer.org415-431-6747, ext. 7606, or David Butler, dbutler@consumer.org

WASHINGTON, D.C.  — Senate leaders today unveiled the latest version of legislation to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

Consumers Union, the policy and advocacy arm of Consumer Reports, said the Senate bill, known as the Better Care Reconciliation Act, would seriously jeopardize the financial stability and health of American consumers, and it strongly urged senators to oppose the bill.

Betsy Imholz, Special Projects Director for Consumers Union, said, “Senators have made some tweaks and adjustments to this bill, but the essential problems for consumers are still there.  The deep cuts in Medicaid would be brutal for the disabled, for seniors, and others.  The bill would end protections for people who have pre-existing health conditions.  Tens of millions of people were projected to lose the health coverage they have today under the previous version of the bill, and this version is essentially the same, and many people would wind up paying more out-of-pocket for less coverage.

“One of the more troubling developments is an amendment that would let insurers sell skimpy, substandard health plans, which would likely fragment and destabilize the insurance market, leading to much higher premiums for many people, especially those with pre-existing conditions.

“If the goal is to improve healthcare coverage, this bill takes us further away from that goal — much further, not closer.  Senators on both sides of the political aisle opposed the last version of this bill. This latest version is not a solution.  You can’t simply put a bandage on this bill to make it better for consumers, because the approach is fundamentally flawed.”

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Consumers Union is the public policy and mobilization division of Consumer Reports.  Consumers Union works for health reform, food and product safety, financial reform, and other consumer issues in Washington, D.C., the states, and in the marketplace. Consumer Reports is the world’s largest independent product-testing organization.  Using its more than 50 labs, auto test center, and survey research center, the nonprofit rates thousands of products and services annually.  Founded in 1936, Consumer Reports has over 8 million subscribers to its magazine, website, and other publications.