GOP: Back to Health Care-Gutting Business

Rep. Henry Waxman (R-Calif.)Andy Holzman/Zum

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With all the Medicare-privatizing and debt ceiling hostage-taking this year, Republicans haven’t had much bandwidth to spare on the priorities of last session—like killing health care reform.

But now they’re back in the swing of things. House Republicans on the powerful energy and commerce committee released draft legislation this week that takes square aim at the patients’ bill of rights and other bedrock consumer protections written into the Affordable Care Act. The bill would change the law so that insurance plans that existed before the passage of health care reform—i.e., the majority of private health care plans—don’t have to comply with new consumer protection rules. 

So, under the Republican draft, what protections would no longer apply in grandfathered plans? Here are a few:

  • Insurance for Young Adults under the age of 26: Under the GOP bill, people under the age of 26 could no longer stay on their parents’ plans if those plans existed before health reform passed.
  • Prohibition on recession of insurance: Grandfathered plans would be able to cancel coverage for people who get sick or make a mistake on an insurance application.
  • Prohibition on preexisting conditions: Plans could deny coverage to people with preexisting conditions or charge them more.

The bill would also impose lifetime and annual limits on coverage, dramatically restrict patient choice, and eviscerate patients’ right to appeal denial of coverage. The GOP’s push to undo what ACA did appears to be glommed into its overall anti-regulatory push. The title of Thursday’s hearing on the draft legislation was “Cutting The Red Tape: Saving Jobs from PPACA’s Harmful Regulations.” In a nutshell: The bill looks to preserve the status quo for health insurance companies. 

The benefits of the patients’ bill of rights are already being felt, and it is among the most popular parts of health care reform. But will Rep. Henry Waxman (Calif.) and the other Dems on the committee win the spin war?

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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