HHS outlines repercussions of repealing healthcare reform

As Republicans eye a vote next week to repeal the new healthcare reform law, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will unveil a detailed outline of national and state-by-state repercussions if repeal succeeds.

HHS will argue that repealing the law would deprive people of popular consumer protections and leave them at the mercy of insurance companies, according to department documents obtained by The Hill. The new HHS data comes as Democratic leaders are centering their defense of the reform law around its consumer protections.

“At a time when American residents will soon be finally free from worrying that affordable coverage will not be available to them and their families when they need it the most, repealing the Affordable Care Act would be devastating,” HHS said in a document detailing repeal's national impact. “American residents, providers, small businesses and other employers would be denied critical new benefits of the law, from protections against insurance industry abuses to new coverage options and millions of dollars in support so the United States can deliver quality, affordable health care options to all of its residents.”

According to the document, repeal would mean: more than 1.2 million young adults under 26 would lose insurance through parents’ health plans; more than 165 million individuals would be subjected to lifetime coverage limits; about 16 million could have their insurance dropped at any moment; 44 million seniors would be forced to pay a co-pay for preventive services; and other protections would be lost.

A separate 138-page HHS document breaks down the figures for each state.

Since lawmakers started returning to Washington on Monday, Democratic leaders have been touting the reform law’s consumer protections. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and top Senate Democrats warned Speaker-designate John Boehner (R-Ohio) that the upper chamber would block efforts to repeal the reform law. On Tuesday, outgoing-Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said the reform law was necessary to fund the new consumer protections.

“If you’re going to have a patient’s bill of rights, you need comprehensive health care reform,” Pelosi said.

Republicans unveiled a two-page bill on Monday to repeal the reform law, as well as a resolution that instructs key committees to propose elements to replace the law.