MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Republican lawmakers insist their health care plan will be cheaper and cover more people than the Congressional Budget Office predicts.
Under the new Trump Administration health care plan — called the American Health Care Act — as many as 24 million people will lose their health insurance within a decade, according to a new report by the Congressional Budget Office.
The president and most Republican lawmakers, however, say the new plan will be cheaper and cover more people.
“We’re not going to have one size fits all,” President Trump said Monday. “Instead, we’re going to be working to unleash the power of the private marketplace to let insurers come in and compete for your business. You’ll see rates go down, down, down, and you’ll see plans go up, up, up.”
Minnesota health care providers who serve low-income Minnesotans, on the other hand, are criticizing the plan. Jonathan Watson is the Associate Director of the Minnesota Association of Community Health Centers. The organization represents 17 community health centers across the state that serve 175,000 mostly low-income Minnesotans.
“Absolutely, it’s a crisis,” Watson said of the new GOP health care bill. “It’s very concerning to us, especially when we are looking at massive cuts to our budgets.”
The Minnesota Department of Human Services estimates under the Republican plan 1.2 million low-income Minnesotans will eventually lose their health care coverage or have their coverage reduced.
“The anxiety and confusion is that the Republican plan remains a work in progress, with changes being announced weekly if not daily,” Watson said.
The full impact of the Republican plan with its proposed changes to Medicaid funding, cuts in block grants to states and increased premiums for older Americans won’t hit until after 2020.
A more immediate crisis is just months away. On Oct. 1, community health centers across the country will lose $3.6 billion in federal grants, including $22 million to centers in Minnesota.
Open Cities Health Center in St. Paul is planning cuts that could affect 2,200 patients. Its CEO James Platten said,
“That could potentially mean closing some services or closing some sites,” CEO James Platten said.
Physician’s assistant Lauren Peterson says patients are frightened.
“They’re worried about costs of their medications, they’re worried [they’ll] lose their insurance.”
Peterson said she can’t provide assurance.
“I tell them we are not sure at this point that we will have to,” she said. “Just wait and see.”