Political leaders respond to Republican healthcare proposal

Consumer Reports says Utah ranks among the worst of the 50 states when it comes to finding information online about state medical board decisions about your doctor. (iStock)

Some people are calling it too much like “Obamacare,” but others say they support the new <a href=”https://housegop.leadpages.co/healthcare/”>Republican healthcare plan</a> announced by President Donald Trump on Tuesday.

Brenda Smith, vice chair of the <a href=”http://www.cachedems.org/”>Cache County Democratic Party</a>, can see why the new bill appeals to many Republicans. However, Democrats, for the most part, would like to have stayed with the <a href=”https://www.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/ppacacon.pdf?language=en”>Affordable Care Act</a>. Smith is included among them.

“A tax credit for low income people who already have enough tax credits because of their income bracket, that they’re getting tax returns, I mean, another tax credit’s not going to help them,” said Smith. “What they need is a healthcare plan that works for them and is affordable.”

Although he has not had time to study the plan carefully, Cache County Republican Party Chairman Boyd Pugmire says he knows what he doesn’t want for sure, and that is national health insurance.

“I agree that we need to take care of our people who can not afford insurance within our system,” exclaims Pugmire. “We need to help the people who are at the bottom of our system as far as their finances.

“I don’t think national health care is the way to do it. I think it’s better done at a state level where it can be monitored at a much closer level so it doesn’t become a giant bureaucracy.”

Pugmire says he would hate to see a health care plan that costs too much that some would have to go without it. He also prefers to see health care programs operated by the state.

U.S. Senator Mike Lee, R-Utah, says he will join Democrats in voting against the plan because it is too similar to Obama’s. In a press release, Sen. Lee says “we promised the American people we would drain the swamp and end business as usual in Washington but the bill does not do that.”

He says we don’t know how many people would use this new tax credit, it is unknown how much it would cost, and it is unknown if this bill will make health care more affordable for Americans.

His Utah counterpart in the Senate, Republican Orrin Hatch, calls the plan “a step in the right direction.”

On <a href=”http://610kvnu.com/assets/podcaster/324/2017_03_08_324_55225_2867.mp3″ target=”_blank”>KVNU’s For the People program Tuesday</a>, the guest was Jason Stevenson, Education and Communications Director for Utah Health Policy. He said there will be a dramatic increase in what people are on the hook for with health insurance, not only for premiums but also for deductibles. 

“What the Affordable Care Act did is help people pay for their deductibles,” Stevenson explained. “It reduced and shrank their deductibles, especially those earning 250% of poverty. Very few people realize that because it was hidden in the machine of the Affordable Care Act.

“But a $6,000 deductible could turn into a $500 deductible if you were earning $30,000 and you are a family of four. That’s going to all go away. That $6,000 deductible is going to come back.”

Stevenson said deductibles will go up not only for the people getting the help from the Affordable Care Act but for everyone else as well.

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