||January 26, 2012
Dave Lemmon, Director of Communications
Bob Meissner, Deputy Director of Communications
Bryan Fisher, Press Secretary
New Report Outlines What’s at Stake for Nevada Health Care as Presidential Caucuses Loom
Repeal of the Affordable Care Act, Championed by Every Republican Candidate, Would Devastate Health Care Gains in Nevada
Hundreds of Thousands of Nevadans Would See Negative Impact
Washington, D.C.—Prospective caucus voters in Nevada may be studying Republican presidential candidates to try to find differences, but a report released today instead reveals what the candidates have in common—they have all endorsed repeal of the Affordable Care Act, and they all support drastic changes to Medicaid and Medicare.
If allowed to be implemented, these changes represent major reversals in national progress toward ensuring that all citizens in this nation have access to affordable health coverage. Their proposals would undo almost 50 years of health coverage progress and would affect all Nevadans—old, young, and working-age—as health coverage protections are eliminated, and as prescription drugs, preventive care, and coverage itself becomes less affordable.
Nevadans should be aware that repeal of the Affordable Care Act would mean:
- Nevada’s 360,000 Medicare beneficiaries would no longer be eligible for free preventive services, such as mammograms and colonoscopies. Nearly two-thirds of beneficiaries (61.1 percent) took advantage of the benefit for at least one free preventive service between January and November 2011.
- Instead of diminishing through rebates and ultimately disappearing, the infamous Medicare Part D “doughnut hole”—the huge gap in prescription drug coverage—would grow. About 25,000 Nevadans received a rebate check for prescription drugs in 2010 thanks to the Affordable Care Act. In 2011, a similar number received even larger discounts—an average of $534 per person through just October—while in the doughnut hole.
- Insurance companies could again deny health coverage for children with a pre-existing condition, a practice now prohibited. More than 36,000 children in Nevada have been diagnosed with a pre-existing condition like asthma or diabetes that could have resulted in denial of coverage in the individual market prior to reform.
- Many young adults would no longer be able to remain on their parents’ insurance. In Nevada, 38,700 young adults are now eligible to continue receiving coverage in this manner.
- Insurance companies could continue to deny coverage in the individual market for people in Nevada between the ages of 18 and 64. Beginning in 2014, the Affordable Care Act makes such denials illegal, a reform that will benefit for more than one in four Nevadans—about 414,200 people—who have been diagnosed with a pre-existing condition.
- Women would continue to pay higher premiums than men. In Nevada, every one of the best-selling individual market plans—100 percent—currently charges a 40-year-old, non-smoking woman higher premiums than a 40-year-old, non-smoking man. Gender rating will be made illegal in 2014, unless the Affordable Care Act is repealed.
- Lower- and middle-income individuals and families would lose tax cuts to help pay for health care premiums. Under the law, 287,400 people in Nevada will be eligible for these premium tax cuts in 2014.
The list of bad outcomes from the repeal of health reform goes on: losing the opportunity to purchase coverage like Congress has, the re-establishment of lifetime and annual caps on benefits, the freedom of health insurers to spend benefits on almost anything besides health care, and the loss of a standardized right to appeal coverage decisions.
“Returning our health care system to a ‘Wild West’ market run by health insurers would take away important new rights and benefits gained by Nevada’s families under the Affordable Care Act,” Ron Pollack, Executive Director of Families USA, said today. “Making cuts to Medicaid and ending Medicare as we know it makes things for people of Nevada even worse, yanking coverage from Nevada families in economic distress and putting health coverage out of economic reach for many Nevada seniors.
“The Republican candidates never talk about real benefits to Nevada families under Medicare, Medicaid, and the Affordable Care Act, and they offer nothing positive in the way of replacing the benefits they would take away from hard-working families in Nevada,” Pollack said.
Families USA is the national organization for health care consumers. It is nonprofit and nonpartisan and advocates for high-quality, affordable health care for all Americans.
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