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AHCA Authors Find a Way to Make A Bad Bill Even Worse for Consumers

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The latest version of the American Health Care Act does even greater damage to consumers than the original bill and would ultimately cost consumers more for less coverage, without doing anything to increase the number of people with meaningful coverage.

Consumers Union, the policy and mobilization arm of Consumer Reports, panned the amended bill, noting that it would allow states to charge older consumers far more, effectively end protections for those with preexisting conditions, and gut essential health benefits so that insurers could sell plans offering  paltry coverage.

“Lawmakers have managed to find a way to make this bad bill even worse for consumers. It does nothing to address the AHCA’s fundamental problems or increase the number of people who would be covered. Yet the bill finds several ways to lower the bar for coverage while jacking up the price for consumers,” said Betsy Imholz, Special Projects Director for Consumers Union. “This proposal would allow insurers to charge our most vulnerable populations more while offering consumers plans that are basically junk and don’t provide meaningful coverage.”

The most recent amendment would allow states to opt out of essential health benefits, choose to have a higher age rating in order to charge older customers more, and waive community rating and return to allowing insurers to charge people based on their expected healthcare costs. States could replace community rating with high risk pools, which history has shown do not work. Moreover, the bill exempts Members of Congress and their staff from this plan and would guarantee them the protections included in the Affordable Care Act.

Imholz said, “It is outrageous that Members of Congress would exempt themselves and their staff from their own proposal. This exemption makes it clear that they know this bill is bad for Americans and are simply trying to pull the wool over consumers’ eyes.”

Consumers Union strongly opposes the American Health Care Act and previously gave the bill a failing grade for its shortcomings. For more information, visit www.ConsumersUnion.org/protect-our-healthcare.