Delaware AG Matt Denn compares the GOP health care plan to horror film Halloween.
“We are criticizing something that we know is bad, but we haven’t even seen it yet,” Denn said during a press conference at Westside Family Healthcare in Dover. “It reminds me of those Halloween movies, in that you know it’s bad, and you know it’s out there in the woods, but you don’t know exactly what it looks like yet.”
Since 2010, Delaware’s uninsured rate has been nearly cut in half, according to Delaware Dept. of Health and Social Service Sec. Dr. Kara Odom Walker. She said that decrease in the number of uninsured Delawareans is largely due to provisions in the Affordable Care Act which increased access to care and expanded Medicaid. “I am concerned that changes at the federal level could lead to significant losses in coverage at a time that we are urgently responding to the addiction epidemic in our state,” she said.
In May, the U.S. House narrowly approved legislation that would repeal and replace major portions of the Affordable Care Act. The 217 to 213 vote would dismantle much of President Obama’s namesake health care plan, removing the coverage mandate from Obamacare among other provisions. Senate GOP leaders have not been very forthcoming about what is in legislation they are currently crafting.
Delaware Insurance Commissioner Trinidad Navarro said 27,000 Delaware consumers are at risk of losing coverage. “Obamacare is hemorrhaging under the duress of Washington’s political tactics.” Last week, Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield requested a 33 percent rate increase for the ACA marketplace in Delaware. Starting in January, Highmark will be the only insurer offering coverage under the marketplace in Delaware. Aetna announced its plans to leave the market earlier this year.
U.S. Sen. Tom Carper of Delaware likened the situation to a phrase from the Dept. of Homeland Security: “See something, say something.”
“We see something bad coming our way from the House of Representatives,” Carper said. “If all we do is go off to our separate corners and the Republicans work in secret in the Senate and craft their version or some changes to that bill, then heaven help us. And heaven help a lot of people who depend on the changes that we put in with the Affordable Care Act.”
Carper quoted President Trump’s claims during the campaign that he would bring improvements in health care that would provide better care and be more affordable. Carper said that doesn’t appear to be happening. “If the legislation that’s emerged from the House of Representative is enacted, none of what he promised will be true, none of it will be true.”
While Delaware’s congressional delegation is made up of three Democrats who all oppose the GOP plan, Denn said Delawareans should reach out to people in neighboring states to convince lawmakers from those states to oppose the proposed changes.
“Delawareans need to be working with people in Pennsylvania and New Jersey and other states where there are people who are in favor of these bills to get them to change their minds,” Denn said. “Anyone who thinks this is not going to have catastrophic consequences for people in the United States is just not paying attention.”