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May 8, 2017

I am Pro-human. Pro-decency. Pro-morals. Pro-healthcare.

AHCA Bill

I am Pro-human. Pro-decency. Pro-morals. Pro-healthcare.

What happened last Thursday, when the House approved the American Health Care Act (AHCA), represents none of these things.

My anger doesn’t just stem from the fact that if passed by the Senate “as is” and enacted into law, it will personally affect me in regards to my pre-existing conditions. My anger lies in the injustice that could be done to millions of Americans, especially to those of you reading this because it likely will affect you, my friends in the chronic pain community.

Why is Everyone Saying #ihaveapreexistingcondition ?

Like many of those who voted for the AHCA law, I have not read it. After pouring over dozens of articles written by those far more intelligent than me, I have discerned that the blanket statement of “the AHCA law does not cover pre-existing conditions,” is not accurate. The nuances of the bill, however, could leave many with pre-existing conditions either paying an immeasurably higher cost for healthcare than under the current law or potentially go without coverage because they cannot afford it.

The bill allows states to “opt-out” of covering pre-existing conditions. If you live in a state that opts out- there is a high-risk insurance pool, funded by the government. However, there is likely not enough money going into this pot. And you have no idea how much higher your premiums will be based on your pre-existing condition.

Under Obamacare, it didn’t matter. You were covered. The cost of your monthly insurance premium was the same whether you had a pre-existing condition or not.

Bottom line is that there are fewer protections around pre-existing conditions with this bill versus the current law.

What Happens Next?

The bill goes to the Senate (as a refresher on how a bill becomes law, watch this). Many in the Senate have said they are going to take this opportunity to go back to the drawing board and rewrite the majority of the bill. The New York Times reported that “a handful of Republican senators immediately rejected [the House measure], signaling that they would start work on a new version of the bill virtually from scratch.”

“We’re writing a Senate bill and not passing the House bill,” said Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn). “We’ll take whatever good ideas we find there that meet our goals.”

If changes are made in the Senate, a conference committee would form with representatives from the House and Senate. Members would negotiate a final bill that then goes back to each chamber for a final vote.

Senate committee debates likely won’t occur until June. By then, the Senate will have a vital piece of information that was missing when the House bill was voted upon. How much is this going to cost? The independent Congressional Budget Office (CBO) will have its final report on the cost of the proposed law by then. Early reports estimate that enacting AHCA will cause 24 million to become uninsured, and that number is expected to rise.

Now What?

I am not taking the chance that the House bill will die or significantly be improved before it becomes law. There are multiple other provisions of the House bill that could remain in a final version, such as cutting Medicaid by $880B over ten years, increasing premiums based on age vs ability to pay, and giving $300B in tax breaks to wealthy Americans.

First, I am going to check here to see if my representative voted for the AHCA. I will call, write or email him to either thank him for voting against the bill or express my disappointment. Then I will call, write 0r email my Senators to tell my story again and how it will hurt so many of the people I know and love. I will tell them that I am Pro-human. Pro-decency. Pro-morals. Pro-healthcare. #healthcarehasnoparty.

Please do the same. Here’s how to reach your US Representative in the House or your US Senator.

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