LANSING –– Today, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) issued a score on the U.S. Senate health plan that confirms that not only will millions of Michiganders be subjected to skyrocketing premiums, deductibles and prescription drug costs, but millions will lose health care altogether. In response, state House and Senate Democrats renewed their call for the Legislature to take up their “Health Care Bill of Rights.”
The U.S. Senate plan leaves 22 million across the country without coverage. The bill allows insurance companies to cap coverage, which will force many sick people into bankruptcy. If people hit rough financial times and have a break in coverage for more than two months, the Senate plan bars them from buying a new plan for six months.
The Democrats' resolution, which was introduced in May, will shield Michigan families from the worst parts of the health care cuts Republicans are ramming through in Washington. The Michigan “Health Care Bill of Rights” is a common-sense plan that ensures that people with pre-existing conditions won’t lose vital protections and seniors who aren’t eligible for Medicare won’t see changes that would force them to pay five times more for healthcare. The plan also protects people with employer-based health insurance from drastic rate increases and coverage caps.
“I hate to say it, but unless you're wealthy and well-connected, you're out of luck," said Senate Minority Leader Jim Ananich (D-Flint). "This plan attacks those who need affordable care the most — seniors and middle- to low-income families. Michigan Republicans should do the right thing and put our ‘Health Care Bill of Rights’ to a vote now to make sure that D.C. meddling doesn’t wreck our health care system by pricing citizens out of coverage.
“I don’t know how you can call it a ‘health care plan’ when you’re causing costs to skyrocket and pricing seniors and those with pre-existing conditions out of insurance. Republicans in Washington want to take us back to the days when insurers could stop paying for cancer patients’ chemo in the middle of treatment, forcing them to choose between their survival and bankruptcy. That is not just mean — it is a disgrace. The Democrats’ ‘Health Care Bill of Rights’ is critical to ensuring that Michigan families are protected from these cuts,” said House Democratic Leader Sam Singh (D-East Lansing).
The “Michigan Health Care Bill of Rights” would:
- Protect People with Pre-existing Conditions. The plan prevents people with pre-existing conditions like cancer or asthma from losing their protections.
- Stop the Republican ‘Age Tax.’ The plan protects seniors and older people who aren’t eligible for Medicare by banning insurance companies from jacking up their rates. Under the GOP’s plan, seniors would be forced to pay five times more than what other people pay.
- Prevent Massive Rate Hikes on People. The plan stops insurance companies from being able to jack up rates on people who get sick and need treatment or add coverage caps, which leave people with massive out-of-pocket costs.
- Protect Essential Health Benefits. Insurance companies won’t be able to deny Michiganders coverage for: Maternity and newborn care; prescription drugs; substance use disorder services; preventive care; pediatric services; hospitalization; and emergency services.
- Prevent Annual or Lifetime Health Care Coverage Caps. Insurance companies will not be allowed to go back to the days where they could impose coverage caps on health coverage, forcing many people, even those with employer-based health insurance, into bankruptcy in order to get treatments they need.