INDIANAPOLIS – The nine-month Republican crusade to kill off the Affordable Care Act may be ending this weekend for the foreseeable future, but throughout the process, Congressmen Messer’s and Rokita’s efforts to do brutal harm to Hoosiers has been very real.
Republicans in Washington have made multiple efforts to dismantle the Affordable Care Act by party-line vote before this weekend, when their window to use reconciliation and pass a health care overhaul with only 50 Senate votes will close. Congressman Messer and Rokita have supported every partisan attempt in both the House and Senate that Republicans have tried this year, including voting to pass the American Health Care Act out of the House in May.
Their proposals may not have become law, but all of the bills that Congressmen Messer and Rokita have supported would have thrown America’s health care system into chaos. Had the two men gotten their way, more than $800 billion would have been cut from Medicaid, gutting HIP 2.0, which covers 400,000 Hoosiers. Medicaid also provides funding for everything from helping children with developmental disabilities, to helping fight the scourge of opioid abuse, to long-term care for seniors.
Under the plans supported by Congressman Messer and Congressman Rokita, premiums for the average Hoosier would have increased by over $1,000 every year. And because of an “age tax” that allowed insurers to charge older Hoosiers up to five times the average rate, premiums for adults getting ready to retire would have shot up several times more.
Insurers also would have been able to discriminate against Hoosiers with pre-existing conditions, potentially preventing coverage for the very ailments for which it’s needed or causing premiums to skyrocket for conditions that affect 30% of Hoosiers, including cancer and asthma. 365,000 Hoosiers would have been stripped of their health care over 10 years should the AHCA become law. Their proposal may even have weakened employer-based health care plans, which half of all Americans use.
The GOP’s efforts may have failed momentarily, but Congressmen Messer and Rokita now seem like they’d prefer to sabotage insurance markets in order to position themselves for later attempts to dismantle the health care system. While a group of bipartisan senators, including Joe Donnelly, has tried to work together to improve the Affordable Care Act and stabilize the markets, Congressmen Rokita and Messer have not supported the efforts. If nothing is done, insurers in future years could raise rates for Hoosiers by as much as 40%, reports in June stated.
“Hoosiers are breathing sighs of relief as the window for Republicans’ current opportunity to dismantle the health care system closes for now. But they’re not resting easy, and they haven’t forgotten what Republicans like Congressmen Rokita and Messer have tried to do,” said Will Baskin-Gerwitz. “After they worked to destroy HIP 2.0 and give insurers the right to discriminate against Hoosiers with pre-existing conditions, voters won’t give Congressmen Messer and Rokita more opportunities to affect their health care the next time they’re up on the ballot.”