House ACA Bill Would Gut Access and Coverage While Driving Up Consumer Costs

Experts

Vice President for Consumer Policy and Mobilization
Director, Special Projects
Staff Attorney
Health Policy Analyst
Media Relations Associate

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Washington, D.C. — The House “American Health Care Act” would leave millions uninsured and drive up costs for consumers, Consumers Union, the policy and mobilization arm of Consumer Reports, warned today in a letter to House lawmakers. The consumer group also criticized the rush to a Wednesday markup of the legislation in two committees, a mere 36 hours after the legislation was released and before the Congressional Budget Office is able to score the total impact of the proposed legislation.

Laura MacCleery, Vice President of Policy and Mobilization for Consumer Reports, rejected the bill, saying, “If the goal of this legislation was actually to improve access to care and drive down costs, they completely missed the mark. This legislation would leave millions of Americans unable to purchase insurance, and leave those who are able to with paltry coverage. This so-called ‘replacement plan’ makes it highly unlikely that those with pre-existing conditions would be able to afford any plans that provide the meaningful coverage they need. It would also lower the threshold for coverage levels, allowing insurers to sell plans that will likely cost consumers more and provide them less.

“We cannot overstate the fundamental threat that this bill poses to Medicaid’s future and the coverage gains made through the ACA expansion. These sweeping changes would put health insurance out of reach for our most vulnerable populations, including seniors, children and people with disabilities — while giving tax breaks to the wealthy and insurance companies.

“Moreover, it is misguided and irresponsible to rush markup of legislation of this magnitude 36 hours after releasing the bill, with no hearings, and before the Congressional Budget Office is able to score it and determine its true impact. This is too important an issue to proceed in a less-than-transparent manner that does not allow for full participation by all stakeholders. Consumers deserve better, and lawmakers owe it to consumers — their constituents — to take the time to find a better, more transparent solution.”

The letter is available here or by visiting ConsumersUnion.org.