Washington Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler—whose office is responsible regulating health insurance in the state—has a dim view of the replacement plan offered up by Republicans this week.
On Tuesday, a concerned Kreidler wrote that his office has made an initial evaluation of the proposed plan to replace the Affordable Care Act, concluding that it would threaten current consumers and increase the rate of uninsured Americans in Washington and nationwide.
“The Congressional Republicans’ plan to replace the Affordable Care Act is a step backward for the millions of people who have gained coverage,” Kreidler wrote in the statement. “It’s being rushed to a vote with little or no public review or fiscal analysis by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. This is an unprecedented way of doing the public’s business.”
Kreidler says the elimination of the individual mandate for coverage, the lack of coverage for abortion, higher costs for old people and the elimination of income-based subsidies are among the worst effects of the Obacamare repeal bill.
The ACA has greatly expanded access to Medicaid in Washington, known as Apple Health. According to Apple Health, about 1.9 million of Washingtonians are currently enrolled, with almost one quarter of them living in King County.
But for Kriedler, perhaps the worst part of the Republicans’ new plan is its lack of transparency, as it displays a false sense of real access to health insurance coverage.
“Guaranteeing ‘access’ does not guarantee that people have affordable coverage,” he wrote.
“It’s just another way of saying that if you don’t have enough money to pay for health coverage, you’re out of luck. That’s unacceptable.”
Kreidler, a Democrat, is joined by most of his party in panning the plan.
In a statement released on Monday, congresswoman Suzan DelBene (WA-01) criticized Republicans for keeping their bill hidden from the public all this time. She wrote that the new bill would affect middle-class families’ pockets, wipe out benefits for seniors, cut funding for the federal-state program for low-income people known as Medicaid by more that $500 billion and allow insurers to discriminate against women as well.
“The lack of transparency in this process should concern every American,” DelBene wrote. “Making working families, seniors, children and people with disabilities foot the bill for this poorly conceived experiment is just wrong.”
In a release sent out today, Rep. Pramila Jayapal accused Republicans of trying to get the bills passed before they could be evaluated.
“Congressional Republicans are attempting to expedite passage of the two bills before the Congressional Budget Office or the American people get a chance to fully assess the damage the they will cause,” she said in a statement.