As a financial advisor I realize that ‘one-size fits all’ advice is rarely in order; however, this is one of those rare instances. As your financial advisor, I strongly recommend you oppose the Senate’s health care bill. It is not in your best interest and it is not in the best interest of the vast majority of Americans.
I can hardly say I understand the full intricacies of the proposal. Who does? It was drafted in secret – so secret that not even the 12 other Senators in Mitch McConnell’s working group had seen it until the release Thursday morning. Regardless of understanding, Senate is intent to vote the Bill up or down, without hearings, before the 4th of July.
What we do know is that the Bill preserves a key feature of the House-passed Bill – State control. Specifically, States can exclude various core health care features from what health insurance policy is required to provide. These are the “essential healthcare benefits” that States could choose to wave from inclusion in health insurance plans:
- Ambulatory patient services (outpatient care).
- Emergency services.
- Maternity and newborn care.
- Mental health and substance use disorder services, including behavioral health treatment.
- Prescription drugs.
- Rehabilitative and habilitative services and devices.
- Laboratory services.
Pardon the sarcasm, but “Good news all, your health insurance premium just went down…but, by the way it doesn’t cover any of these things.” Good news indeed, if you never get sick.
On top of these exclusions, it would also make deeper cuts to Medicaid than the House Bill – $800 billion in cuts! Along with providing health services to the poor, Medicaid provides benefits for almost two-thirds of Americans in nursing homes. Medicaid cuts will be especially hard on rural America, where many hospitals already run the risk of closing due to poor funding.
What specifically does the plan mean for you? If the things I’ve noted thus far are not of concern, perhaps you are not a woman or simply plan to never require medical care. Well, in more personal terms, consider this couple’s financial plan aiming to retire at age 60 that I recently completed. While estimating their lifetime expenses for health insurance and out of pocket costs, it totaled over $750,000! And that is before these proposed changes.
Another way to look at this impact is to consider the total dollars for our entire economy. The “draft” bill that Sen. McConnell would like to see passed within the next 10 days would revamp 17% of our economy overnight. There’s a lot at stake here folks – let’s get it right!
Granted, the plan would reduce taxes on the wealthy and that is good news for a few of you on the surface. Please, consider the deeper consequences of what amounts to mandating income inequality, especially on America’s working poor and near poor. Maybe they have insurance, maybe not. Under this bill, they are one modest illness away from ruin. In case you were unaware, healthcare is already the leading cause of personal bankruptcy. Affecting so many individuals will affect you, regardless of how financial secure you are on your own.
Yes, Obamacare is flawed and I also strongly encourage you to recognize the need for real solutions on that front. But make no mistake, the task at hand in the coming days is to stop the passage of this mean, misguided, and purely partisan legislation.
For those of you in Colorado, Senator Corey Gardner said that he prefers for hearings to be held on the Bill, even if that means the Senate works through its planned recess to get it right. He’ll come under tremendous pressure from leadership to jump on board in the next few days.
Contact his office to support the hearings: https://www.gardner.senate.gov/contact-cory/office-locations.
Try a number on the link other than Denver – you’ll have a better chance of getting through.
Hold Senator Gardner to his word and make Senate hold hearing and get this Bill right for all affected. Senator Bennett, are you listening too?