The Cruz amendment has caused the one major medical-industry interest who could live with BCRA into staunch opponents:
Two organizations representing the U.S. health insurance industry just called a new provision of the Senate Republicans’ health care proposal “simply unworkable in any form” and warned that it would cause major hardship, especially for middle-class people with serious medical problems.
The organizations, America’s Health Insurance Plans and the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, speak for the businesses that would be responsible for making the new system work ― or at least attempting to do so.
That may help explain why, with a vote on the bill planned for next week, they are letting loose with what, by Washington lobbying standards, sounds like a primal scream.
The amendment, crafted by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), would allow insurers to resume sales of policies that leave out key benefits, such as prescription drugs or mental health. More important, it would allow insurers to discriminate among customers based on medical status, charging higher premiums or denying policies altogether to people with existing medical problems ― from the severe, like cancer, to the relatively mild, like allergies.
Krugman had a good column about the naked fraud behind TrumpCare, most notably promises to protect Medicaid turning into a bill that cuts it 35%. But in a way the fraud behind the Cruz Amendment is even more telling. Obviously, the Republican conference want to end the ACA’s protections for people with pre-existing conditions. But the public hates the idea, and there are a few “moderate”* Republican senators who need to convince themselves that they’re not ending these protections. So Ted Cruz came up with an idea: effectively end protections for pre-existing conditions, and indeed essentially ending any insurance being made available on the individual market that isn’t a massive fraud, but in an direct, chickenshit way. Worse, many consumers will buy into the fraud and probably won’t realize, for example, that buying junk insurance won’t count as maintaining continuous coverage. It’s just unbelievably disgusting. It may not work with the public, but the real target is “moderate”* Republicans, and what’s scary is that it might work.
While we’re here, shorter Erica Greider: “People say Ted Cruz is bad, but he created an amendment that means that the BCRA will destroy not just Medicaid but insurance exchanges too! And he makes this bill that will take insurance from more than 20 million people and make insurance for people who have it to pay for present and future upper-class tax cuts worse-to-useless more likely to pass. Where’s his parade?” I rate this take 100 Baylesses on a scale of 1 to 5.
*”Moderate” Republicans, an illustration:
when a moderate republican meets an extreme republican pic.twitter.com/rBmXf9gVbd
— sean. (@SeanMcElwee) July 14, 2017