WASHINGTON - March 15 - 85 Million People Would Lose Critical Protections Such as Cervical, Prostate, and Colorectal Cancer Screenings, as well as Mammograms, Mental Health Services, and Well-Child Care
Today, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee adopted S.1955, the “Health Insurance Marketplace Modernization and Affordability Act,” introduced by Committee Chairman Michael Enzi (R-WY). The following is the statement of Ron Pollack, Executive Director of Families USA, about the bill’s passage in the HELP Committee:
“The HELP Committee’s passage of the Enzi bill on a strictly partisan basis, constitutes one of the biggest threats to health care consumers. The committee’s bill will undermine state measures that safeguard the health and the wallets of more than 85 million Americans.
“This very partisan bill will push consumers into barebones health insurance plans that override existing state laws that guarantee coverage of such crucial services as cervical, prostate, and colorectal cancer screenings, as well as mammograms, mental health, and well-child care.
“Anyone who wants decent health coverage, instead of barebones policies, will wind up with much higher premiums than they pay today. The bill achieves that result by fragmenting insurance markets, thereby forcing people who need health care the most to pay skyrocketing premiums that are unaffordable.
“The bill leaves consumers at the mercy of health insurance companies by overriding a range of state laws that protect the consumer and regulate insurance company behavior. Fundamental consumer protections that will be wiped out include: rules that limit premium discrimination based on health status, age, and sex; prohibitions of huge premium increases when people get sick; and prohibitions of misleading insurance company marketing practices.
“Senator Enzi claims that his bill is a compromise that lessens the problems of past proposals to create Association Health Plans (AHPs). The Enzi bill, however, is much worse: It not only eliminates essential rights for people in AHPs, it also eliminates these rights for all people with health insurance through state-regulated individual, small group, and large group plans—thereby harming 85 million people.
“We call upon the Senate to reject this bill and, if necessary, to filibuster it so that America’s health care consumers remain protected by existing and important state rules.”