As Senate Republicans scramble to pass a monstrosity of a bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act that can hardly be described as offering any semblance of health care, President Trump spewed absolute nonsense about Graham-Cassidy’s provisions. On Wednesday afternoon he tweeted, “I would not sign Graham-Cassidy if it did not include coverage of pre-existing conditions,” he wrote. “It does! A great bill.”
This is a lie, as I’m sure I don’t have to tell you. Anyway you spin it, Graham-Cassidy simply doesn’t protect people with pre-existing conditions. It may include the possibility of coverage, in the most basic sense of the word, sure, but at exorbitant and unaffordable prices.
Graham-Cassidy requires that states address how they intend to provide “access to adequate and affordable health” for people with pre-existing conditions if they waive the ACA’s mandate prohibiting insurers from charging higher premiums based on an individual’s health history. But there’s no guarantee that insurers won’t charge extremely high premiums — because “adequate” and “affordable” are completely subjective.
States that obtain a waiver can do away with “any provision that restricts the criteria which a health insurance issuer may use to vary premium rates.” The president and CEO of Blue Cross Blue Shield, an insurer that opposes Graham-Cassidy, criticized this provision in The New York Times. “The bill contains provisions that would allow states to waive key consumer protections, as well as undermine safeguards for those with pre-existing medical conditions,” said Scott P. Serota.
We know by now that Trump has an aversion to reading anything longer than a page of bullet points written in giant font, so it’s quite possible (er, likely) that he hasn’t read the bill. Another probable scenario, I think, is that whoever summarized Graham-Cassidy for Trump actually wrote it provided coverage for people with pre-existing conditions. Either way, it’s not a “great bill.” It’s a terrible bill and Trump is a liar. What’s new?