March 08, 2017

Kaine Highlights How Republican Health Care Plan Breaks Promises To Virginians, Seniors

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine, a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (HELP) Committee, delivered remarks on the U.S. Senate floor opposing the Republican plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Kaine highlighted the broken promises President Trump and other Republicans have made about the repeal of the Affordable Care Act and the new House replacement bill. Kaine reiterated that the bill would leave fewer Virginians with health insurance and raise health care costs for patients, including Virginia’s seniors.

“Republicans … have made a number of promises about what a replacement would look like but this falls far short of that. That's why within 36 hours of it being put on the table, stakeholders across the spectrum – the American Hospital Association, AARP, the AMA, nurses, nursing homes, Republican governors – have come out either to dramatically and flatly oppose this plan or suggest significant concerns with it,” Kaine said.

The plan exposes older Virginians to higher premiums and offers fewer tax credits to those who need it most. Kaine highlighted the negative impact the Republican bill would have on Virginia’s seniors by sharing how much an average 60-year-old with $30,000 in annual income from seven of Virginias counties and cities would see their subsidy reduced under the Republican health care plan, compared to the Affordable Care Act.

  • In Augusta County, the tax credit is 50% less than the value of the ACA subsidy
  • In Fairfax County, the tax credit is 41% less than the value of the ACA subsidy
  • In Bedford County, the tax credit is 51% less than the value of the ACA subsidy
  • In the city of Norfolk, the tax credit is 51% less than the value of the ACA subsidy
  • In Rockingham County, the tax credit is 50% less than the value of the ACA subsidy
  • In Pittsylvania County, the tax credit is 49% less than the value of the ACA subsidy
  • In Pulaski County, the tax credit is 54% less than the value of the ACA subsidy

Below are excerpts from Kaine’s speech:

“It is not an adequate replacement. In fact, it would be a dramatic retreat and it would be a retreat that would violate promises that had been made by the President and other leaders. Republicans – and I’ll get into this – have made a number of promises about what a replacement would look like but this falls far short of that. That's why within 36 hours of it being put on the table, stakeholders across the spectrum – the American Hospital Association, AARP, the AMA, nurses, nursing homes, republican governors – have come out either to dramatically and flatly oppose this plan or suggest significant concerns with it.”

“Second, with respect to seniors, this plan would repeal a provision in the Affordable Care Act that says seniors cannot be charged more than three times a premium of a young person. It would repeal that, and it would allow insurers to charge older customers five times as much as younger customers, and it would give states the ability to even set more unfavorable ratios for seniors. This will have a significant impact on the premium of every older American. And, third, the plan repeals the income-based subsidies, premium assistance, and cost-sharing reductions in the current Affordable Care Act and substitutes less-generous tax credits that won't be adjusted to average costs of plans in particular markets. So if you're a middle-income individual in a high-cost market, you are really out of luck in this plan. Let me just give you an example of how insurance would be affected in particular communities all over Virginia, if the House plan were adopted.

“If you are 60 years old and you make $30,000 per year under the House plan, here's what happens. First, the cost of your insurance can be dramatically raised because you're not at age 60 now limited to three-to-one over a young person's premium, they can charge you five-to-one over a young person's premium. So the premium cost if you’re a 60-year old making $30,000 goes up significantly. Now, you get a tax credit just like right now you get a subsidy, but the tax credit is much less generous. So the cost of your policy goes up, but here's what happens in communities all over Virginia, tax credit compared to the subsidy you currently get.

“In 2020 in Augusta County in the Shenandoah Valley, the tax credit you get is worth only about half of the subsidy you would get if we continued the Affordable Care Act. So price is up, but your tax credit is less generous by half of the current subsidy. In Fairfax, your tax credit is 41% less than the subsidy. In Bedford, 51% less than the subsidy. In the city of Norfolk, 51% less than the subsidy. Rockingham, 50% less. Pittsylvania, 49% less. Pulaski County in far Southwest Virginia, 54% less. So if you are a senior, your costs go up but the assistance you get in the tax credit is dramatically less generous than the assistance you currently get with the premium subsidy.”

“Let me read you what certain Republican leaders have said about this bill the past. The deputy leader in the Senate, a friend from Texas, Senator Cornyn said to Republican governors – governors have a lot at stake in this, I was a governor, I know how much governors depend on Medicaid and health care programs – here is what Senator Cornyn said January 19, 2007. ‘Nobody is going to lose coverage, period.’ No exception, no qualification, nobody is going to lose coverage. That's what he said to the Republican governors. We're awaiting the CBO score suggesting how many – potentially how many millions will lose coverage. Many people will lose coverage. That's not what was promised. But more importantly probably what did the President say?

“When the President was campaigning as a candidate, this is what he promised the American people: ‘I'm going to take care of everybody. I don't care if it costs me votes or not. Everybody is going to be taken care of much better than they're taken care of now.’ That was the test that he set for himself about an Obamacare replacement. That no one would be worse off and that many would be better off. This does not meet that promise. It fails that promise.”

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