So, what is it that the American people would lose with a repeal of the Affordable Care Act that members of Congress will keep for themselves? Here are a few examples:
* Protection for people with pre-existing conditions: Members of Congress are guaranteed access to health coverage even if they or family members have a pre-existing condition. The Affordable Care Act provides this protection for America’s families. Double Standard: The Republican leadership’s repeal bill would take this right away from America’s families — while keeping it for themselves.
* Subsidies to make health premiums affordable: Members of Congress receive subsidies of almost three-quarters of their health insurance premiums – all paid by taxpayers. The Affordable Care Act will provide tax-credit subsidies for many millions of America’s families to help make insurance premiums affordable. Double Standard: Republicans plan to take away those tax-credit subsidies from us while retaining their own taxpayer-funded health coverage.
* A prescription drug benefit with no coverage gap: Health plans offered to members of Congress include prescription benefits without a coverage gap. Under the Affordable Care Act, the existing, big drug benefit gap for people in Medicare — euphemistically called the “doughnut hole” — will be closed. Double Standard: The proposed repeal would eliminate this important improvement for seniors and people with disabilities, while members of Congress retain their own comprehensive drug coverage.
* Protection against catastrophic healthcare costs: Members of Congress can choose plans that limit how much they must spend out of pocket when they or family members get sick. The Affordable Care Act requires that new insurance plans protect America’s families from going into debt or bankruptcy by limiting families’ out-of-pocket costs. Double Standard: The repeal bill would rescind this right for America’s families but would leave it intact for members of Congress.
* A choice of easy-to-compare health insurance plans: Members of Congress have a wide array of health plans to choose from, along with a consumer-friendly guide and online comparison tools for selecting the best plan. The Affordable Care Act creates new competitive marketplaces that will do likewise for America’s families. Double Standard: If the Act is repealed, this important new benefit would be taken away from us, as members of Congress keep it for themselves.
* An appeal of wrongful claims denials by insurance companies: Members of Congress, when faced with denied insurance claims, have a right to appeal that denial to an unbiased hearing officer. The Affordable Care Act establishes a similar right for America’s families. Double Standard: Republicans pushing for repeal would take this appeal right away from America’s families, while keeping it for themselves.
There are many more examples of this healthcare double standard, but you get the point. Republican plans to repeal the Affordable Care Act but retain comparable taxpayer-funded benefits and rights for themselves.
It’s enough to give hypocrisy a bad name!
Ron Pollack is the executive director of Families USA.