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06.21.2016 / Press Release

Speaker Ryan’s Expected Health Care Plan Cuts Coverage for Millions and Ends Protections for People with Pre-Existing Conditions

So-Called ‘Better Way’ Is a Giant Step Backwards

Washington, D.C. – Six years after passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan is scheduled tomorrow to announce the outline of a Republican plan to replace it. Dubbed “A Better Way,” Ryan’s plan repeals the ACA protections that stop insurers from denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions, replacing them with historically ineffective and costly high-risk pools; cuts subsidies that make insurance premiums affordable especially for millions of low-wage working families; eliminates prohibitions that prevent insurers from imposing arbitrary payout limits for people who experience major illnesses or accidents; promotes high-deductible health plans; and reduces federal funding for state Medicaid programs through per capita caps. Ryan’s plan is not expected to include dollar amounts, which means detailed analyses of the plan’s effects are impossible, and it cannot be scored by the Congressional Budget Office. Following is the statement of Families USA Executive Director Ron Pollack on Ryan’s plan:

“Ryan calls his plan ‘A Better Way.’ But sentencing tens of millions of people with pre-existing conditions to coverage denials by insurance companies, or dumping them into ineffective and costly high-risk pools, is not a better way. Jeopardizing the health coverage of over 20 million people who recently secured it is not a better way. Cutting state Medicaid funding that places 72 million of our most vulnerable men, women, and children at risk of losing coverage is not a better way.

“It is also not a better way to promote high-deductible plans that are unaffordable for moderate-wage working families. And it is not a better way to force people with major illnesses into a no-coverage zone by allowing insurers to place arbitrary caps on how much they will pay out when people need significant care.

“Ryan’s refusal to put actual dollar amounts behind his proposal masks how devastating the effects will be. But make no mistake, Ryan’s approach is not a better way forward, but a bitter path backward that returns us to the bad old days when vast swaths of Americans were left to the tender mercies of the insurance industry and could not afford needed care.

“There is a ‘better way,’ and that is to take the existing Affordable Care Act and work across the aisle to improve it so that each and every American has access to quality, affordable health care.”