Opinion: The Americans Who Saved Health Insurance

Penalty for refusing to get health insurance remains intact

  Penalty for refusing to get health insurance remains intact Opponents of President Barack Obama's health care law who wanted to get rid of the penalty will have to wait longer for relief.WASHINGTON — Opponents of President Barack Obama’s health care law who wanted to get rid of the penalty people were assessed for not having health insurance will have to wait longer for relief after the Senate early Friday defeated the GOP’s scaled-back version of legislation repealing the Affordable Care Act.

Health care wonks like Andy Slavitt ( who had run Medicare and Medicaid) and Topher Spiro used Twitter to explain what Congress was doing — and urge action. The hosts of a hit podcast, Pod Save America , implored their audience to stay engaged. I know it’s unfashionable to praise a political party, and I have plenty of complaints about the Democrats. But the fact is, many Americans would soon lack health insurance were it not for the unity of elected Democrats. Not a single one wavered in recent months. On the left, Bernie Sanders, who ’s technically an independent, worked to poke

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Many Americans look back on the heroic political fights of the past — for suffrage, Social Security, civil rights, Medicare — and wonder why today’s politics never produce inspiring victories. Well, we just witnessed one.

If one of the Senate or House health care bills had become law, millions of people would have lost their coverage. Ultimately, many would have been denied medical care. Birth defects, cancer, diabetes and other conditions would have gone untreated.

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  Trump’s final health care pitch makes promises he can’t keep As he attempts to close what has been an elusive deal among Republicans on a Senate bill to repeal and replace Obamacare, President Donald Trump continues to make bold promises about what that bill would do — promises that all available analysis suggests the bill will not keep. Trump made a final-appeal speech on Monday, which was light on policy and heavy on pressuring Republican senators to vote for the bill when it’s expected to come to the floor for a procedural vote on Tuesday. It included one section in which the president gave a small list of how health care would change should the Better Care Reconciliation Act become law. Trump promised the new health care bill would “significantly lower premiums” and “stabilize the insurance market.” He shared horror stories of families who had relied on the Affordable Care Act for coverage but ultimately liquidated a 401(k) retirement account in order to cover their large deductibles. The truth, however, is that the Senate bill will not lower premiums for many people. For low-income Americans, in particular, premiums could rise by as much as 700 percent. Nonpartisan analysis from the Congressional Budget Office estimates that the Senate bill would destabilize the individual market. And those plans with large deductibles? They would become more common should the Senate bill become law.

Learn about American Rescue Plan health insurance savings & lower costs. More people qualify than ever before. Official government site. More people than ever before qualify for help paying for health coverage, even those who weren’t eligible in the past. Most people currently enrolled in a Marketplace plan may qualify for more tax credits. Health insurance premiums after these new savings will go down. How to find out if you qualify for Marketplace savings.

The annual cost of health insurance for the average American is ,414 per year, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data from 2017. This equates to around 5 per month. For example, the nation’s lowest monthly premium for a 27-year-old’s benchmark plan was 2 (in New Mexico), while the highest was 3 (in Wyoming). How many Americans don't have health insurance ? As you can probably tell, the typical cost of health insurance in the US can be very prohibitive for some people.

And it came depressingly close to happening. But it didn’t — because of a lot of hard work from a lot of people. Today, I want to give them their due. They are the people who have helped save decent medical care for their fellow citizens. They are an antidote to cynicism in this often cynical time.

  The Americans Who Saved Health Insurance © Drew Angerer/Getty ImagesThe Citizens

Jessi Bohon isn’t a political activist. She is a teacher in central Tennessee who grew up poor in rural Virginia. But President Trump’s victory led her to join a grass-roots group called Indivisible, which encouraged people to attend town hall meetings on health care.

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On Feb. 9, Bohon went to one in Murfreesboro, Tenn. There, she asked her House representative, Diane Black, to fix Obamacare’s problems instead of taking away insurance. “As a Christian, my whole philosophy in life is pull up the unfortunate,” Bohon told Black. “We are effectively punishing our sickest people.” The remarks went viral.

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People who have health insurance are often more likely to go to the doctor when they need to because they know what it will cost, says Katie Roders Turner, executive director of the Family Healthcare Foundation in Tampa Bay, Florida. They tend to follow up on medical concerns their doctors flag, such as high blood pressure, before they turn into bigger problems, and they’re more likely to obtain The cost of health insurance varies dramatically, but certain factors might increase or lower your costs. According to HealthCare .gov, the five things that can increase your monthly premium are

Most Americans whose families depend on their employers for coverage are just a layoff away from being uninsured. And now, when many businesses are shutting down and considering layoffs, it’s a public health disaster. Across the country we’re seeing reports of layoffs in almost all industries. If the reason you lost your health insurance is that you no longer have steady employment, how are you now going to be able to afford monthly premiums for some other private health care plan? This problem becomes particularly acute when you consider that premiums for health plans sold on exchanges are

Bohon was one of thousands of citizens who took time to attend meetings, visit congressional offices and call those offices, oftenrepeatedly. This sustained action worked better than any poll to show Congress how unpopular the bills were. It was a reminder of how democracy can work.

The Organizers

Jessi Bohon was able to join Indivisible because of a group of millennials who reacted to Trump’s election not with despair or blame games but by trying to make a difference.

At an Austin, Tex., bar during Thanksgiving week, three friends got together to talk about stopping Trump’s agenda. The friends — Sara Clough along with Leah Greenberg and Ezra Levin, a married couple who had both worked in Congress — envisioned a Google document with tips for citizen action. Others were involved, too, and the document began circulating online. It led to the formation of Indivisible, with chapters around the country trying to replicate the Tea Party’s success, albeit to different ends.

Consensus Is Health Law Can Be Fixed. Now the Hard Part.

  Consensus Is Health Law Can Be Fixed. Now the Hard Part. Stabilizing the market, lowering drug prices and expanding access to coverage would go a long way to easing millions of Americans’ concerns.The seven-year-old law has survived Supreme Court decisions and aggressive attempts to extinguish it by Republicans in Congress and the White House. But even people who rely on its coverage agree that it still has big problems. The question for the roughly 20 million Americans who buy their own health coverage — and for millions of others who remain uninsured — is what can realistically be done to address their main concerns: high prices and lack of choice in many parts of the country.

Health insurance means different things to people across the world – the USA’s system is known for several distinguishing features, including a high relative cost to the individual and a lack of universal coverage. You may be wondering why the cost of healthcare insurance seems to be rising and how Deductibles, also known as out-of-pocket fees, are a common feature in American health insurance policies, meaning upfront costs are common even for those who are insured . 83% of covered American workers have a general annual deductible that must be met before services are funded by

The various groups and organizers fed off one another. Health care wonks like Andy Slavitt (who had run Medicare and Medicaid) and Topher Spiro used Twitter to explain what Congress was doing — and urge action. The hosts of a hit podcast, Pod Save America, implored their audience to stay engaged. AARP ran ads and mobilized members. It was a vast health care conspiracy.

Health care activists on Capitol Hill in March.© Alex Wong/Getty Images Health care activists on Capitol Hill in March. The Experts

I’ve never seen a major political fight inspire such an expert consensus, across the ideological spectrum.

Groups representing doctors, nurses, hospitals and patients of virtually every disease criticized these bills. So did both liberalandconservative policy experts. Congressional Budget Office analysts refused to be bullied and provided dispassionate, anddevastating, analyses.

The bills had virtually no independent defenders. This intellectual honesty — the avoidance of false balance — helped the public understand that this wasn’t a classic partisan fight with each side making some good points. It was a case of cynical politicians willing to hurt their constituents in order to keep a misguided campaign promise.

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Senator Susan Collins, center, at a Fourth of July parade in Maine.© Sarah Rice for The New York Times Senator Susan Collins, center, at a Fourth of July parade in Maine. The Unintimidated

At least nine Republican senators expressed grave doubts about the bills. But only two voted no consistently: Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska.

They were clearly affected by the outpouring of public opinion. Murkowski has cited a constituent who said she would not be alive without Obamacare. Collins, marching in a Fourth of July parade in a remote part of Maine, heard shouts of “Stay strong, Susan!”

But many senators ignored such voices. What set Collins and Murkowski apart was a willingness to buck intense pressure from Republican leaders. “Boy, are you tough,” Vice President Mike Pence ruefully said to Collins before the final vote. Senator Chris Murphy, a Connecticut Democrat, told me that he thought the two senators’ history of partisan independence was crucial: “Susan and Lisa knew you could stand up to the Republican leadership and survive.”

Senator John McCain, left, with Senator Lindsey Graham last week at a press conference on health care legislation.© Gabriella Demczuk for The New York Times Senator John McCain, left, with Senator Lindsey Graham last week at a press conference on health care legislation. The Institutionalists

Chief Justice John Roberts is a movement conservative. Yet he cast the vote that saved Obamacare in 2012 partly because he understood that a partisan shredding of the safety net could undermine his institution — the Supreme Court.

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  House Moderates Have a Bipartisan Health-Care Bill But will the GOP leadership allow moderates to make Obamacare work better, when conservative donors want to see it fail?And then, there are the few GOP lawmakers who are interested in lowering premiums for their constituents by passing small-bore, technocratic fixes to Obamacare (as opposed to trying to do so by sacrificing cancer patients’ regulatory protections on the altar of the almighty invisible hand).

John McCain is also deeply conservative. Yet, like Roberts, he realized that taking health coverage from millions, in a hasty, secretive process, could damage his favorite institution — the Senate.

When his colleagues didn’t heed his warning to abandon that approach, McCain flipped his vote. “No,” he announced at 1:30 a.m. on Friday, shocking Democrats who had given up on him and Republicans who had assumed he wouldn’t really break ranks on principle.

Chuck Schumer, center, with fellow Democratic senators after a critical procedural vote last Tuesday.© Win Mcnamee/Getty Images Chuck Schumer, center, with fellow Democratic senators after a critical procedural vote last Tuesday. The Democrats

I know it’s unfashionable to praise a political party, and I have plenty of complaints about the Democrats. But the fact is, many Americans would soon lack health insurance were it not for the unity of elected Democrats.

Not a single one wavered in recent months. On the left, Bernie Sanders, who’s technically an independent, worked to poke procedural holes in the bills. Every red-state Democrat stood firm, too. Why? They thought their Senate leader, Chuck Schumer, was listening to them and their concerns. They had also held their own town halls, and they knew the bills were deeply unpopular.

The unity was a fitting echo of 2010, when Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid kept their party together to pass the most important social policy in decades. Today, it remains the law of the land.

No one should think the fight is over. Murphy, the Connecticut senator, says he wakes up every day fearful of a new repeal effort. Even without one, Obamacare needs to be improved, and defended from Trump’s sabotage. There’s much more work to do.

But I hope everyone who played a role in last week’s victory sets aside some time to savor it. It was a big deal, and it was not inevitable. One day, Americans will look back on it with respect and, yes, nostalgia.

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Uncertainty over Trump's health-care policies driving double-digit insurance price hikes .
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