Millions of Americans, even those with insurance, are drowning in medical debt. Indeed as this NPR story discussed, medical debt is the top reason people go bankrupt.
But, medical debt can happen to anyone, even those with insurance. As a News and Observer journalist, John Murawski, revealed this past week, insurance is no protection from medical debt.
And this is before any less generous GOP “replacement” plan would go into place. It will be much, much worse under the proposed buzzwords in lieu of a real plan, “repeal and replace.” The biggest culprit seems to be high- deductible insurance. But there are other reasons. It sometimes occurs because of out-of-network providers on medical and surgical teams without the patient’s knowledge. Also, costs can vary significantly from one state, region or even hospital to another.
The most recent revelation by Murawski shone a light on the vast underbelly of patient debt at several local hospitals, including Duke University Health System, UNC Health, Wake-Med and Wake Forest Baptist Hospital Center. I urge you to read it to understand what can go wrong. Then consider that all of these deficiencies will be compounded with an on-your-own system, which is an access plan not an insurance plan. In other words, the proposed plan (thus far) will be a near-worthless approach to solbing the problems of affordable care. requiring an outlay in order to get a tax credit. And this problem will certainly worsen in an environment that has gutted patient-friendly consumer protections. The weight of high deductibles will be worse under the GOP plan, as deductibles will be driven higher.
Republican legislators have deceived voters by persuading them that rates have gone up for most people under the ACA. It’s just not true.
But the poor and older Americans too young for Medicare fare the worst under the GOP plan. The tax credit plan punishes them. Additionally, the GOP plan allows that they can be charged 5 times more than younger people (it used to be three times more under teh ACA). Take a look at the article and visuals here. It is almost horrifying how upside down the current GOP proposal is.
Please continue to let your elected representatives know you expect them to support health care for all, not on-your-ownership.