Georgia Sen. Kelly Loeffler—who supports repealing the Affordable Care Act— introduced a healthcare plan that may do more harm than good.
Amid the run-off campaign for a seat that could determine the future of the US Senate, Georgia’s Kelly Loeffler has introduced a plan that offers an alternative framework to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the healthcare reform law supported by more than half of Americans. For residents of one of the nation’s sickest states, though, the Modernizing Americans’ Health Care Plan doesn’t offer much they don’t already have.
On Monday, Loeffler tweeted that her plan would protect people with pre-existing conditions, lower medical costs, and increase options. But individuals with pre-existing conditions are already covered under the ACA. If Georgia leaders voted to expand Medicaid in the state—a central feature of the ACA—684,000 more people would become eligible for coverage.
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Loeffler’s proposal includes a guaranteed issue, or the requirement that plans enroll a person regardless of their health status, age, or gender, but there’s no language to limit how much a person can be charged if they enroll. And according to Andy Slavitt, the former acting administrator for the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services, “what it doesn’t say is what kind of coverage, what kind of issue, the rules around it or anything else.”
Slavitt spoke as a panelist during a virtual webinar held by Rev. Raphael Warnock, Loeffler’s opponent in the Senate runoff race, last month.
“Unfortunately what I learned in [Loeffler’s] plan was that she is promoting plans which do not cover pre-existing conditions at all, that she’s promoting plans that do not require insurance companies to cover COVID, that she is supporting efforts to overturn the Affordable Care Act which would reduce coverage for people in Georgia by about 340,000 people,” Slavitt said.
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In contrast, Warnock wants to bolster the ACA and expand benefits with a public option—a government-run health insurance agency to compete with the private health insurance companies in the marketplace. He said everyone should realize they are stakeholders in healthcare legislation, because even those without pre-existing conditions could develop them later.
“I agree with Martin Luther King Jr., that of all the injustices, inequality is the most shocking and the most inhumane. I believe that health care is a human right. It is certainly something that the richest nation on the planet can and ought to provide to all of its citizens and that’s why I’ve been such an advocate for health care,” Warnock said.
Georgia has one of the highest uninsured rates in the country, yet Loeffler has also thrown her support behind a lawsuit Republican state attorneys general brought before the Supreme Court last month that aims to repeal the law that gave health insurance to 20 million Americans. This, during a global pandemic that’s killed more than 9,200 Georgians.
“Senator Kelly Loeffler continued to put her party over Georgia by voting to let the Trump Administration continue backing a lawsuit that could threaten health care protections for 1.8 million Georgians with pre-existing conditions at a time when they need care most,” said Alex Floyd, spokesman for the Democratic Party of Georgia.