Republican bill generates unity—patients hate it, docs hate it, hospitals hate it, insurers hate it

Friday May 05, 2017

7:43 AM PDT



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Yuck it up, bud.

Yuck it up, bud.

It turns out that Donald Trump and Paul Ryan really are capable of bridging divides and bringing the nation together.

It is a rare unifying moment. Hospitals, doctors, health insurers and some consumer groups, with few exceptions, are speaking with one voice and urging significant changes to the Republican health care legislation that passed the House on Thursday.

What does the AMA think of the latest Trumpcare bill?

“None of the legislative tweaks under consideration changes the serious harm to patients and the health care delivery system if AHCA passes. Proposed changes to the bill tinker at the edges without remedying the fundamental failing of the bill – that millions of Americans will lose their health insurance as a direct result of this proposal.

What does the AARP say about Medicaid cuts in the bill?

The impact of such a huge loss of federal Medicaid funds on people with disabilities and poor seniors will be devastating—especially for 11 million Medicare beneficiaries who are also eligible for Medicaid. 

But aren’t the insurance companies supposed to love this?

… Blue Shield of California, came out in opposition to the bill before the vote. “We feel compelled to oppose it,” said Paul Markovich, the company’s chief executive. “It raises the specter that the sickest and neediest among us will be disproportionately hit in losing access.”

But there is one group, just one, that loves Trumpcare.

The overriding concern — for insurers, many workers and officials throughout the health care systems in many states — is the broad reductions proposed for Medicaid. Even for insurers that have largely abandoned the individual market, like UnitedHealth Group and Aetna, a substantial portion of their business is providing coverage under Medicaid. The same is true for many local nonprofit plans, said Ceci Connolly, the chief executive of the Alliance of Community Health Plans.

Republicans may not have read their bill before they signed it, but a good argument can be made that it’s an amazing achievement. If passed, it would take healthcare aware from millions, bankrupt local hospitals, punish doctors, and not even benefit the insurance companies. Employers hate the plan for the uncertainty it brings. Even the states that are supposed to be “empowered” by the plan are upset about the lost funds and traps that would force most states to “opt out” of good plans or go broke. On the patient front, it has it all. It hurts poor people, sick people, old people … everyone.

Only that’s not really true. There’s one group that loves the Republican plan. Really, really loves it.

Here’s what hasn’t changed under the revised House Republican health care bill to repeal and replace Obamacare: The rich would still get tax cuts and other tax breaks.

The rich get a cut in their income taxes, then they get a cut on capital gains taxes, they get expanded tax credits for “certain tax-advantaged accounts,” then they get some special health-care perks that would reward the rich for being … rich.

What kind of healthcare bill takes away services from millions of people, hurts patients, doctors, hospitals, and even insurers to reward the wealthy? No kind. Because the Trumpcare bill isn’t a healthcare bill.

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