July 2, 2017

This is what Donald Trump is trying to distract everyone from with his insane tweets attacking the media. He's really hoping that the media and the voters won't be paying any attention while Mitch McConnell tries to ram this godawful so-called "health care" bill of theirs through the Senate.

This should be the lead story on every network in the country, warning Americans how dangerously close we are to actually seeing this monstrosity pass:

The administration knows they're going to have a hard time rounding up the votes for this thing, so they've still got their surrogates out there lying to the public about the damage it's going to do. Here's HHS Secretary Tom Price on this Sunday's Meet the Press trying to convince everyone that the bill isn't really going to jack up the premiums for older Americans five times higher and price those with pre-existing conditions out of the market.

As Chuck Todd noted, there's not a single analysis out there from any group that disputes the damage the legislation will do, but that didn't stop Price from pretending they're going to somehow fix the problem with some magical fairy dust in the form of some legislation they're supposedly going to pass at a later date:

CHUCK TODD: I want to go to the larger issue here, which is the cost of health insurance, particularly for older Americans with pre-existing conditions. AARP came out with their analysis. And they note because older Americans could now be charged up to five times as much as younger people, rather than a cap at three times as much under the current law. The AARP is calling that an age tax, that basically the older you are, the more you're going to end up paying in premiums. Do you agree with their analysis?

SECY. TOM PRICE: No, I don't at all. And I think that brings us to the point of why are we doing any of this in the first place? The fact of the matter is that premiums are up, enrollments down, insurers are leaving the market. Oh, and that's before President Trump was sworn in.

And the fact of the matter is that it's only gotten worse since then because there hasn't been action. So, what we're trying to do is to bring all of those prices down, everybody. Premiums in this nation have doubled over the past four years, up an average of $3,000 for the average family. That's a tax on everybody. What we want to do is bring all of those prices down so that seniors, young people, folks in middle age, folks who are gaining their coverage by their employer, all of those costs come down.

CHUCK TODD: But for what it's worth, not a single analysis, whether it's Congressional Budget Office or third-party groups, has indicated that this bill, either the House version or the Senate version, is somehow going to make premiums come down for older Americans. Every analysis suggests while premiums may come down for younger Americans, that for older Americans with preexisting conditions, these premiums are going to go up. There's not a single analysis that has said otherwise.

SECY. TOM PRICE: And that's precisely because the Congressional Budget Office and all of these analyses don't look at the entire plan. The entire plan includes not just this piece of legislation, which is a significant piece, but it's not the entire plan. The other pieces of legislation that provide for increasing competition and increasing choices in the insurance market.

And then all of the things that we're doing at the Department of Health and Human Services right now, as we speak, to make certain that we're turning back the tide of all of the rules and regulations that were put in place previously that decrease choices, that increase cost, all of those things. If you look at it in its totality, and nobody's looking at it in its totality, we will bring down premiums. We will increase coverage. We will increase choices. And I believe we will increase the quality of care provided in this nation.

CHUCK TODD: Well, in fairness to the Congressional Budget Office, they can only examine legislation that's in front of them, not potential future legislation.

SECY. TOM PRICE: That's right. But that’s your question.

CHUCK TODD: Potential future legislation, which is yet to be fully introduced.

They'll fix it when pigs fly. Here's more on the legislation that they're actually going to vote on from Vox: CBO: Republican health care bill raises premiums for older, poor Americans by as much as 850%:

Republicans’ American Health Care Act would be devastating to older Americans who rely on the individual insurance market, according to an analysis by the Congressional Budget Office.

The CBO found that the revised Republican bill does bring down overall premiums in the individual market by anywhere from 4 to 20 percent by 2026 compared with what they would be under current law.

The variation depends on whether a state accepts waivers under the American Health Care Act, which would allow insurers to offer much skimpier health plans at lower premiums. States that take up such waivers would see lower premiums, although the health plans would provide fewer benefits. States that don’t adopt such waivers would have higher premiums, but their health plans would offer more benefits — a trade-off.

But the CBO’s analysis includes a big caveat: Premiums would differ greatly based on age and income. In general, the older and poorer you are, the higher your premiums would be under the American Health Care Act compared with current law.

The CBO offers an example of a single individual with an annual income of $26,500.

If that person is 21 years old, he could benefit from the Republican health care bill. Under the Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare), he would on average pay $1,700 in premiums for insurance. Under the Republican plan, he would pay $1,250 if he’s in a state that accepts regulatory waivers and makes moderate changes to market rules — although, again, this also means his health plan would likely be skimpier. If his state doesn’t take up a waiver, his premium would actually increase by $50 to $1,750.

But if that person is 64 years old, he would be hurt by the Republican bill. Under Obamacare, he would also pay $1,700 in premiums for insurance. But under the Republican bill, he would pay $16,100 (about 60 percent of his annual income) if he lives in a state that doesn’t accept regulatory waivers, and $13,600 — still more than half his annual income — if he lives in a state that does adopt waivers to make moderate rule changes. That amounts to as much as an 850 percent increase in premiums from Obamacare to the Republican bill.

A 64-year-old who’s making $68,200 a year could fare a bit better. Under Obamacare, he’s expected to pay $15,300 in premiums for insurance, because his income would be too high to receive the law’s tax credits. Under the Republican bill, the tax credit, which is now based on age instead of income, begins phasing out at $75,000. So his premium would drop to $13,600 — a bit below Obamacare levels — in a state that gets a regulatory waiver but would actually increase to $16,100 in a state that doesn’t get a waiver. [...]

Older people with an annual income of $75,000 or more would get fewer to no subsidies under the Republican bill. So they would likely face higher premiums than they did under Obamacare, much like the lower-income consumer. Read on...

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