May 16, 2018

Trumpcare’s Death Spiral

Truth and consequences for the GOP’s tax-cut

by Chris Thomas

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Photo by Jon Hernandez

The Republican Party has successfully sent healthcare in the United States into a death spiral. Back in December, President Trump signed the Republican Tax Plan into law over the objections of nearly every Democrat in Congress, taking on trillions in debt and ending Obamacare’s “individual mandate.”

That mandate has never been popular. No one much likes the idea that the government can force you to buy insurance. But, like it or not, the mandate was necessary. It kept healthy people in the insurance market and, without healthy people, selling affordable insurance is a sucker’s bet. As a result, healthcare premiums have been steadily climbing and the Washington Post reports plans nearly doubling in cost year-to-year.

This is unsustainable and it is the entirely predictable result of the repeal of the individual mandate.

What does this mean for you? Well, according to eHealthInsurance, the average American family spends $833 per month on family health insurance coverage. NPR reports that the average household (earning $50,000-$70,000) pulls in a $870 yearly tax benefit from the GOP tax cut.

Which means that health insurance premiums only need to rise 9% to wipe away every benefit of the Republican Tax Plan for middle class America.

They’re going up much faster than that. So far, Virginia has seen an average increase of 13.4%. Vermont insurance plans rose 10.9% and in Maryland premiums are going up an average of 30%.

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Rumors are swirling of a new Republican attempt to repeal the remainder of Obamacare with a deliberate attack upon the basic premise of the law: that sick people need access to healthcare.

But rather than providing healthcare to the sick or stopping the death spiral, the Republican plan will accelerate it. The GOP’s provisions are a return to the healthcare policies of the pre-Obamacare era but worse.

Rather than protecting the sick, the Republican plan brings back pre-existing conditions, ends the employer mandate, and creates a Potemkin healthcare market of life-time capped, exception riddled insurance plans masquerading as meaningful coverage for the healthy while sequestering the sick in a scant few ultra-high-premium plans in an accelerated financial power-dive.

But Alaska and Maine will make out pretty well in the GOP’s last, desperate stab at Obamacare. It is a remarkably craven brand of politics, but unsurprising as Senators Murkowski (R-AK) and Collins (R-ME) were among the pivotal votes that sunk last year’s repeal attempt.

Tell Congress What You Think

The insurance death spiral is a problem right now but the next Republican attempt to repeal even more of Obamacare and further undermine the American health system is a much bigger concern. You can tell your Members of Congress your opinions about this or any other issue by texting RESISTto 50409. Or, if SMS isn’t your style, you can contact your government by talking to Resistbot on Facebook Messenger, Telegram, or Twitter.

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