Washington Governor Jay Inslee continued his attack on Congressional Republicans' healthcare proposal today, calling it "morally indefensible," a "disaster for Washington," and "a tax cut for the rich masquerading as healthcare reform."
During a conference call with reporters, Inslee and Washington Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler offered a mostly high-level analysis of what the GOP's "American Health Care Act" could mean for Washingtonians: Around 700,000 Washingtonians could lose coverage and uninsured rates in the state could reach levels higher than before the Affordable Care Act, increasing from 5.8 to 15 percent.
“They have been able to dig the hole even deeper than an absolute repeal would have been," Inslee said. "You have to ask yourself, 'Who could possibly think this is a good idea?'"
Based on calculations from the state's Health Care Authority, Department of Social and Health Services, and Office of the Insurance Commissioner, the state estimates 600,000 people who gained insurance coverage through the expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act could lose that coverage through cuts to federal funding proposed in the Republican plan. Another 100,000 currently in the individual market could lose coverage. Replacing lost Medicaid funding could cost the state $1.3 billion per year by 2023, according to the governor's office. The loss of coverage would hit poor and rural Washingtonians particularly hard, the governor and insurance commissioner say.
“We are very conservative in our analysis of these numbers," Kreidler said. "We’re lowballing it if anything.”
The state numbers come two days after the Congressional Budget Office estimated the Republican plan could leave 24 million people across the country uninsured by 2026. The plan will also result in nearly a trillion dollars in tax cuts over a decade, the
Today, Inslee called TrumpCare a "capitulation to the lust for tax cuts for the rich by the Republicans."
"They’re sacrificing at the alter of tax cuts for the rich the healthcare of 600,000 or 700,000 people in Washington," Inslee said. The governor said he would soon be calling and writing to Washington's Republican members of Congress, "asking them to blow the whistle on this train wreck."
The insurance commissioner's office has not calculated exactly what the GOP plan would mean for emergency room visits, pregnancy rates, or other specific indicators of care. When asked about that today, Kreidler said emergency room visits declined by 10 percent because of the ACA.
Those ERs could again be "flooded" with people who can't pay for their care, affecting the financial health of hospitals, Kreidler predicted. "I'm scared to think about it."