Bill Puts Health Care for More Than 1.6 Million Tennesseans at Risk
(Nashville, Tennessee) – Senate Republicans claimed to have a new version of their devastating health care repeal bill, but it turns out the plan is essentially the same thing – a disaster that would strip health care from millions of Tennesseans, raise costs especially for older Tennesseans, and gut protections against insurance company abuses. As AXIOS reported this morning, the repeal bill will be “broadly the same as version 1.0,” and POLITICO found that “no major changes have been made.”
The latest repeal bill still breaks Senators Alexander and Corker’s promises to protect the health of Tennesseans. The Senate repeal still:
- The bill still guts more than $5.3 billion from Medicaid in Tennessee, ripping away coverage for 1.6 million Tennesseans who currently rely on Medicaid for health care.
- The repeal bill still allows insurance companies to charge as much as 5 times more for people over 50 and still allows insurance companies to deny coverage for routine doctor’s visits, cancer screenings, and substance use disorder treatments. That means a Tennessean could pay an average of $2,4124 more for the same coverage they have today.
- Republicans are trying to convince people their new bill doesn’t fail those who need treatment for opioid addiction, but the facts are it still does. The repeal still devastates Tennessee’s ability to combat the growing opioid epidemic, leaving thousands of vulnerable Tennesseans with mental illness and substance use disorders at risk of losing access to treatment because experts say they are failing to fund the treatment needed.
The GOP health care repeal effort is the most unpopular piece of legislation in three decades. With less than 12% support according to SUFFOLK/USA TODAY, these minor revisions fail to address the underlying problem: this bill strips health care from millions of Americans to cut taxes for drug companies and corporations.
“There is nothing that Senators Alexander and Corker can do to fix how devastating this bill would be in Tennessee,” said Dr. Thomas Phelps, a Tullahoma based family physician and Tennessee spokesperson for the Alliance for Healthcare Security. “The Senate’s health care repeal bill still strips health benefits from people with disabilities, seniors in nursing homes and other vulnerable people, while raising health care costs for most families. It’s time for Senators Alexander and Corker to keep their promises to Tennesseans, to reject partisan repeal and work across the aisle to improve our health care system.”
No buyout, bailout or backroom deal can fix this bill – it raises costs, cuts coverage, and weakens vital protections, while giving huge tax cuts to big drug companies and insurance corporations. Instead of cutting backroom deals, Republican Senators should start working with Democrats to keep what works and fix what doesn’t in the current law.