Haslam “Flat Out Wrong” on Graham-Cassidy

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                          CONTACT: ANDY SPEARS

SEPTEMBER 20, 2017                                                 615.815.4544 OR andy@tnca.org

 

 

Haslam “Flat Out Wrong” on Graham-Cassidy

Health bill would leave 545,000 Tennesseans without coverage, drive up premiums

 

(Nashville, TN) – Tennessee Citizen Action Executive Director Andy Spears said today that Governor Bill Haslam was “flat out wrong” when he said of the Graham-Cassidy healthcare legislation “It’s flat out good for Tennessee.”

 

Haslam made the remarks in Chattanooga today after a speech.

 

“Bill Haslam clearly doesn’t understand the full impact of this legislation,” Spears said. “Here’s the reality: 545,000 Tennesseans are expected to lose access to coverage as a result of this bill. The uncertainty it creates will destabilizes the individual insurance market. People with pre-existing conditions will face skyrocketing premiums. That’s just plain bad for Tennessee.”

 

Spears pointed to a study by the Center for American Progress that estimates 545,000 Tennesseans who currently have insurance would lose access to that coverage as a result of Graham-Cassidy.

 

“Not only would Tennesseans lose access to coverage, markets will be destabilized and premiums will spike.”

 

The Center for Budget and Policy Priorities released a report noting: “Like the Senate Republican leadership bill and the House-passed bill, it would immediately eliminate the individual mandate. That would raise the number of uninsured by 15 million relative to current law in 2018 and increase individual market premiums by 20 percent.”

 

Bill Haslam’s own insurance commissioner echoed these concerns as she approved rate increases for 2018 today. The Chattanooga Times-Free Press reports:

 

Tennessee Insurance Commissioner Julie Mix McPeak, who testified last week before a Senate health subcommittee on rising health insurance rates under the Affordable Care Act, said uncertainty about the future of health care in the current Congress contributed to higher rates because insurers priced into their rates the possibility that cost sharing payments might not be paid or that other changes might be adopted to adversely affect the pool of those seeking health insurance.

 

“Rates are already spiking due to the partisan games in Washington,” Spears said. “That’s not the ‘home run’ Bill Haslam says it is. Next, he’s going to tell us that huge premium increases for individuals with pre-existing conditions are the best thing since sliced bread.”

 

A study by the Center for American Progress notes: “Based on our analysis, we estimate that individuals with even relatively mild pre-existing conditions would pay thousands of dollars above standard rates to obtain coverage. For example, an individual with asthma would face a premium surcharge of $4,340. The surcharge for diabetes would be $5,600 per year. Coverage could become prohibitively expensive for those in dire need of care: Insurers would charge about $17,320 more in premiums for pregnancy, $26,580 more for rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune disorders, and $142,650 more for patients with metastatic cancer.”

 

“Let’s be clear: Bill Haslam is flat out wrong in his analysis of this bill,” Spears added. “Maybe he didn’t read it, maybe he doesn’t understand it. But he’s dead wrong and Tennesseans deserve better.”

 

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Tennessee Citizen Action works in the public interest as Tennessee’s premier consumer rights organization. Our mission is to work to improve the overall health, well-being, and quality of life for all people who live and work in Tennessee.

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