Repeal and Renege: What Faith Communities Need to Know About Health Care Reform Now

This article was written by Bee Moorhead, Executive Director of Texas Impact, the KIFA equivalent in Texas. It says what needs to be said and we appreciate her allowing us to use it here. The information on legislative contacts, of course, has been changed for Kansas.

On March 6, U.S. House leaders made public their long-awaited plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act and restructure Medicaid. Key committees will have about 36 hours to review the legislation before voting on them on Wednesday morning.

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The proposed legislation would pull the rug out from under millions of working Americans who were able to obtain health insurance because of the financial assistance and consumer protections in the Affordable Care Act. It provides new benefits to higher income households, in addition to reducing taxes on wealthy individuals and businesses. It would scale Medicaid back, leaving states—and, ultimately, local taxpayers—on the hook for care for the most vulnerable members of local communities. 

If the proposed legislation becomes law, it will be a historic moment for the nation. According to the Washington Post, "There is no precedent for Congress to reverse a major program of social benefits once it has taken effect and reached millions of Americans."

Major elements of the proposed legislation include the following:

  1. The legislation would repeal the mandate for individuals to obtain health insurance, and would allow insurers to impose a surcharge on individuals who attempt to obtain coverage after a period of being uninsured.
  2. The legislation would prohibit insurers from denying coverage to individuals with preexisting conditions, but would allow them to charge prohibitively high premiums to those individuals.
  3. The legislation would allow insurers to charge much higher premiums to older individuals than to younger enrollees, and would provide relatively less premium assistance to older Americans than under current law.
  4. The legislation would eliminate the subsidies currently available to low-income enrollees, and instead would establish refundable tax credits that would be available to individuals with incomes up to $215,000/year.
  5. The legislation would repeal taxes that apply to wealthy households and certain businesses.

Analysis of the legislation is ongoing…in fact, there will not be an estimate of budget impacts until next week.

There are no Kansas congressional representatives on the House Energy and Commerce Committee. One serves on Ways and Means:

Lynn Jenkins: (202) 225-6601 (DC), (785) 234-5966 (Topeka)

You can watch the committees discuss and vote on the legislation here:

Read short, fairly simple summaries of the legislation here:

More than 40 national denominations and faith groups have signed on to a joint letter to the committee chairs expressing concern about the proposed legislation and articulating 10 faith principles for health care.



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