Category Archives: Healthcare

How the Senate health care bill would affect Arizona

Howard Fischer reports on an analysis by Arizona’s AHCCCS office. Analysis: Senate health-care plan could cost Arizona $2.9B or more:

The new Senate health-care plan would cost Arizona at least $2.9 billion between next year and 2026 — and perhaps as much as $7.1 billion — according to a new analysis by the Ducey administration.

Or the state could avoid most of those costs simply by cutting off health care for more than 400,000 who got coverage in 2013 when Arizona took advantage of a provision in the Affordable Care Act — the law Congress is working to repeal.

The analysis by the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System, the state’s Medicaid program, shows the Senate proposal is only marginally better than the one approved by the House. That has an Arizona price tag of $3.3 billion over the same period.

The $2.9 billion is just in lost federal dollars that provide care for nearly 320,000 childless adults with income below the federal poverty level, about $11,800 a year for a single person. Plus, there are another 82,000 adults considered the “working poor,” earning up to $16,400 a year, whom the feds would no longer fund.

That’s only a piece of the picture.

If federal funding goes away, the assessment on hospitals that lawmakers approved in 2013 to pay the state’s costs for those people automatically self-destructs. That means the loss of another $2 billion over the same period, money the taxpayers would have to pick up.

Our lawless Tea-Publican legislature would pass “emergency” legislation to make sure that this does not happen.

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Analysis of Senate ‘Obamacare’ repeal and replace bill

The “discussion draft” of the Senate GOP health care bill has been released (online in its entirety here) by evil GOP bastard Mitch McConnell, and it is even worse than many anticipated.

Still, four far-right Tea-Publican senators say that it doesn’t go far enough in its cruelty to Americans. “Let the poor die! Rich people want their tax cuts!” Their moral depravity knows no limits.

President Barack Obama offered a succint summation of the bill in a Facebook post:

The Senate bill, unveiled today, is not a health care bill. It’s a massive transfer of wealth from middle-class and poor families to the richest people in America. It hands enormous tax cuts to the rich and to the drug and insurance industries, paid for by cutting health care for everybody else. Those with private insurance will experience higher premiums and higher deductibles, with lower tax credits to help working families cover the costs, even as their plans might no longer cover pregnancy, mental health care, or expensive prescriptions. Discrimination based on pre-existing conditions could become the norm again. Millions of families will lose coverage entirely.

Simply put, if there’s a chance you might get sick, get old, or start a family – this bill will do you harm. And small tweaks over the course of the next couple weeks, under the guise of making these bills easier to stomach, cannot change the fundamental meanness at the core of this legislation.

I hope our Senators ask themselves – what will happen to the Americans grappling with opioid addiction who suddenly lose their coverage? What will happen to pregnant mothers, children with disabilities, poor adults and seniors who need long-term care once they can no longer count on Medicaid? What will happen if you have a medical emergency when insurance companies are once again allowed to exclude the benefits you need, send you unlimited bills, or set unaffordable deductibles? What impossible choices will working parents be forced to make if their child’s cancer treatment costs them more than their life savings?

To put the American people through that pain – while giving billionaires and corporations a massive tax cut in return – that’s tough to fathom. But it’s what’s at stake right now. So it remains my fervent hope that we step back and try to deliver on what the American people need.

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WaPo: ‘discussion draft’ of GOP bill

After weeks of secret negotiations, evil GOP bastard Mitch McConnell is ready to release the GOP plan to repeal and replace Obamacare to rank and file GOP senators today, and is expected to release the bill publicly ahead of the vote next week. Senate GOP leaders set to unveil health-care bill.

The Washington Post purportedly has a leaked copy of the “discussion draft” for rank and file GOP senators this morning. Senate health-care draft repeals Obamacare taxes, provides bigger subsidies for low-income Americans than House bill:

A discussion draft circulating Wednesday afternoon among aides and lobbyists would roll back the Affordable Care Act’s taxes, phase down its Medicaid expansion, rejigger its subsidies, give states wider latitude in opting out of its regulations and eliminate federal funding for Planned Parenthood.

The bill largely mirrors the House measure that narrowly passed last month but with some significant changes aimed at pleasing moderates. While the House legislation tied federal insurance subsidies to age, the Senate bill would link them to income, as the ACA does. The Senate proposal cuts off Medicaid expansion more gradually than the House bill, but would enact deeper long-term cuts to the health-care program for low-income Americans. It also removes language restricting federally subsidized health plans from covering abortions, which may have run afoul of complex budget rules.

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GOP saboteurs will proceed with an ‘Obamacare’ repeal vote in the Senate next week

Health insurers are scrambling to decide whether to stay or go by Wednesday’s deadline to file plans for the federal marketplace. As we’ve reported here for months, GOP sabotage of “Obamacare” and uncertainty in the health insurance marketplace has caused some insurers to leave the federal marketplace, and others will dramatically increase their premiums or deductibles trying to anticipate the damage that the GOP  health care bill will do to their bottom line. With Health Law in Flux, Insurers Scramble to Meet Filing Deadline:

Even as Senate Republicans hurry to finish their plan to overhaul the law, insurers must meet a series of state and federal filing deadlines. While the Wednesday deadline does not represent a final commitment by the insurer, “it will be a good indicator of the health of these markets,” said Sabrina Corlette, a research professor at Georgetown University.

If an insurer misses the Wednesday deadline, regulators could still choose to accept a last-minute application, as they did last year in Arizona, to make sure residents had access to a policy through the state marketplace. “State officials and governors are going to be very pragmatic to make sure people have coverage,” Ms. Corlette said.

Some insurers are betting against the GOP saboteurs.

[S]ome insurers say they plan to stay — and a few are even expanding into more states.

Oscar Health, the New York insurance start-up, said Wednesday that it expected to offer policies in three additional states for 2018: Ohio, New Jersey and Tennessee. The company, which covers about 105,000 people, also plans to expand in California and Texas while remaining in New York. Oscar had sold policies in New Jersey but left the state this year.

* * *

“We’re confident that when the dust settles, the market for health insurance will stabilize in time for 2018,” Mario Schlosser, the company’s chief executive, wrote in a blog post. “For all of the political noise, there are simply too many lives at stake for representatives in Washington, D.C., not to do what’s right for the people.

Wow, is this guy politically naive.

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Democrats resist Tea-Publican tyranny to destroy America’s health care system

Democrats on Monday intensified their resistance to the un-American and anti-democratic efforts of tyrannical Tea-Publicans to destroy America’s health care system just to give huge tax cuts to their Plutocratic masters.

Evil GOP bastard Mitch McConnell is sticking to his artificial July 4th congressional break deadline of June 30 to hold a vote in the Senate. There is currently no final bill that is in writing. In order to have enough time to get the requisite Congressional Budget Office (CBO) scoring of the bill ahead of McConnell’s June 30 deadline, a final bill would have to be sent to the CBO by this Friday.

There will be no committee hearings, no public input from stakeholders, no Democratic amendments allowed to be offered, and only limited debate for this bill created in secret by a Star Chamber of 13 old white Tea-Publican men.

This secret bill will be released only hours before a vote. Senators will not have time to read the bill and to to digest it.  This is not the American democratic legislative process. This is authoritarian Tea-Publican tyranny writ large, all in service to giving huge tax cuts to their Plutocratic masters.

On Monday, Dems step up attacks on GOP ObamaCare bill:

Senate Democrats are stepping up their attacks on the GOP’s push to repeal and replace ObamaCare as the legislative battle enters a critical two-week stretch.

Democrats can’t block a healthcare bill on their own, but are threatening to shut down the Senate in retaliation for Republicans negotiating their legislation in a string of closed-door GOP-only meetings.

The move, they hope, will put Republicans on the defense as they look to force a vote as soon as next week, when lawmakers will leave for the July 4th recess.

“This radical departure from normal procedure on a bill of such consequence leaves the Senate minority little choice but to depart from normal procedure as well,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said from the Senate floor. “If the Republicans won’t debate their healthcare in the open for the American people to see, they shouldn’t expect business as usual.”

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Jan Brewer’s Medicaid (AHCCCS) expansion plan goes to Arizona Supreme Court

Back in March, the Arizona Court of Appeals affirmed the Maricopa County Superior Court decision upholding former governor Jan Brewer’s Medicaid (AHCCCS) expansion plan in 2013. AZ Court of Appeals upholds Medicaid (AHCCCS) expansion plan.

The “Kochtopus” Death Star, the Goldwater Institute, naturally appealed to the Arizona Supreme Court.

Supreme Court Justice Clint Bolick, who was vice president for litigation at the Goldwater Institute’s Scharf-Norton Center for Constitutional Litigation at the time this lawsuit was filed, should be required to recuse himself from participating in this appeal under the court’s rules of ethics.

The parties are now filing their pleadings with the Arizona Supreme Court. Ducey administration argues to keep hospital levy paying for AHCCCS care:

The Ducey administration is asking the Arizona Supreme Court to preserve the levy that pays for an expanded Medicaid program — assuming that expansion isn’t undermined by Congress killing the program.

In legal papers filed Friday, attorney Doug Northup wants the justices to reject arguments by Republican lawmakers that money being paid by hospitals to the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System is a tax. Instead, he contends, it is simply an “assessment” on hospitals.

That difference is more than wordplay.

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