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June 27, 2017

We Want Care, Not Chaos!

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We’ve been hearing for months about the right-wing Congress’ attempts to repeal the Aordable Care Act. The House of Representatives passed their bill, the American Health Care Act, in May. Now it’s the Senate’s turn. And things are moving very fast – Congressional leaders want to pass this bill before their July 4th recess. This may be our last chance to stop devastating healthcare cuts.

Here’s what the legislation being considered would do:

End the entitlement to Medicaid and cut over a trillion dollars from the program. This will result in a loss of coverage and cuts in services for millions, especially seniors and people with disabilities who need long term care services.

Hurt New York more than other states. “High cost” states are singled out for deeper Medicaid cuts. The bill adds an additional $2.3 billion cut that aects only New York. And it will slash funding for the Essential Health Plan that 700,000 low-income New Yorkers depend on for health insurance.

Make insurance more expensive. The bill cuts subsidies for lower-income people to buy insurance and allows for reduced “actuarial value,” meaning people will pay more for worse coverage with higher deductibles and co-pays. It even has an “Age Tax”, allowing insurers to charge older customers up to five times more than younger ones.

Allow insurers to refuse to cover essential health benefits and re-impose lifetime and annual caps. We will return to the days when it was common for insurers to demand large extra premiums to cover maternity care, cancer drugs or addiction treatment, and for people who have premature infants or a serious illness to face huge bills.

Slash healthcare jobs. Estimates are up to 60,000 health care jobs in our state could be lost. This is especially devastating in rural areas where healthcare is one of the major employers. And the funding cuts will make it likely that all of us will be looking at givebacks at the bargaining table.

Give the rich and corporations a big tax break. Millionaires will each get thousands of dollars in tax breaks and insurance and drug companies will get over $170 billion in breaks over 10 years.

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