Kimmel 1, Cassidy 0

Jimmy Kimmel has kept up his criticism of the Graham-Cassidy Obamacare repeal bill, especially the provisions on preexisting conditions. Sen. Bill Cassidy has flat-out lied about it, saying that the coverage “is absolutely the same. There’s a specific provision that says that if a state applies for a waiver, it must ensure that those with preexisting conditions have affordable and adequate coverage.” The Washington Post gives that three Pinocchios.


Contrary to Cassidy’s claim that “the protection is absolutely the same,” it actually weakens it more than any previous proposal…

The problem, according to health-care experts, is that there is no definition in the bill of “adequate and affordable coverage,” so whether a state complied with the law would be subject to the whim of the health and human services secretary at the time. Moreover, unlike in the ACA, states would not have to prove that they maintain “adequate and affordable coverage” before receiving a waiver…

The CBO said states that take advantage of the waiver provisions could perversely end up blowing up their insurance markets, leaving people with preexisting conditions with spiraling costs. About one-sixth of the U.S. population was estimated to live in states that would face this problem. “Less healthy individuals (including those with preexisting or newly acquired medical conditions) would be unable to purchase comprehensive coverage with premiums close to those under current law and might not be able to purchase coverage at all,” the CBO said.

Look, we know where this leads. It leads to high-risk pools with spiraling costs. It does no good to claim you have guaranteed availability through the high-risk pools if those who need it can’t afford to buy the policies. And bear in mind, the subsidies and the exchanges are going away after 2020, which is only two years away. And we have lots of experience with high-risk pools and we know that the costs can be double that of regular premiums, and without subsidies that just won’t be workable for most people.

The Center for American Progress has done a study on this and estimates how high the surcharge on insurance premiums would be for various chronic conditions. For diabetes, for example, the average would be an additional $5,600 a year. And the surcharges would be “$26,580 more for rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune disorders, and $142,650 more for patients with metastatic cancer.”

I have both diabetes and sarcoidosis, which is an autoimmune disorder. There’s no way I could afford that kind of cost, but I can’t afford not to have it either. My monthly medication costs without insurance would be almost $3,000 a month. Thankfully, it looks like they don’t have the votes to pass this bill.

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