Late yesterday afternoon the Congressional Budget Office released their score of the Senate’s proposed health care plan and the numbers are extremely troubling. As our friends at the North Carolina Justice Center report the so-called “Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017” would:
- Take health coverage away from 22 million Americans, especially low-income older adults.
- Slash Medicaid funding by 26 percent with back-loaded cuts that deepen over time (leading to even deeper cuts and more Americans uninsured outside of the ten-year period measured by CBO).
- Increase deductibles so much that “few low-income people would purchase any plan.”
- Raise premiums by 20 percent next year, and hike premiums in the long run particularly for low-income communities and older adults.
- Lead to skimpier plans with bare-bones coverage, increasing costs for consumers needing coverage for maternity care, mental health care, and other key services.
- Reinstate annual and lifetime limits on coverage.
- Provide $541 billion in tax breaks to the wealthy, insurers, and drug companies.
However, we are not just talking about statistics; We are talking about real people, each uniquely made in the image of God. An estimated 22 million mothers, fathers, siblings, sons, daughters, men, women, and children will no longer be able to access potentially life-saving coverage. Throughout the Gospels we consistently encounter Jesus healing those who were sick and providing care for the most vulnerable. Our God is a god who cares deeply about the physical, mental, and spiritual health of everyone created in God’s own image. It is nearly impossible to reconcile that understanding of the nature of God with the devastating effects this bill would have on our most vulnerable sisters and brothers.
While a vote on this bill is still expected before the holiday, it is not too late to call Senators Burr and Tillis on this critical issue. Senator Tillis has not yet publicly expressed support of this bill so it is particularly important that he hear your concerns for yourself and for all our brothers and sisters. The NC Justice Center has organized a call-in campaign to Senator Tillis’ office today to make it clear where North Carolinians stand on this issue.
Senator Tillis can be reached at 202-224-6342, and Senator Burr’s number is 202-224-3154.