Republican Senators: AHCA Must Reduce Cost of Health Coverage

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.

The fun folks at Vox asked eight Republican senators to explain what they want their health care bill to do. That is, what problems should it solve and what benefits should it provide for ordinary Americans? The results are mostly pretty hapless, and Chuck Grassley in particular is getting lots of Twitter play for his usual Grampa Chuck schtick.

But if you read closely, it turns out that all of them aside from John McCain actually do have a common goal:

McCain: “What are the big problems it is trying to solve?” “You name it.”

Grassley: “The rates could be way up here. [Points to sky] And if they — if we get a bill passed, it maybe wouldn’t go up or would go up a heck of a lot less than they would without a bill.”

Boozman: “We’ve got so many people in Arkansas, premiums have gone up 128 percent in the past four years….And so hopefully we’ll deal with some of those problems.”

Wicker: “It will moderate prices for premiums.”

Murkowski: “I continue to hear stories of great frustration. Increasing premium costs. Increasing share of deductibles….When you ask Alaskans about their stories and what they want, they need increased affordability. Because we are slammed in every category, with premiums and the cost of care.”

Cruz: “The most important objective in repealing Obamacare is to lower health insurance premiums.”

Capito: “First of all, we’ve got to stabilize the market of the places…whose premiums are skyrocketing, whose deductibles are through the roof. This is a real phenomenon.”

Portman: “It’s the cost of health care. Premiums and copays and deductibles have skyrocketed compared to what was promised.”

Seven out of eight Republicans surveyed agree that rising premiums and deductibles are the key problem they’re trying to solve. In the House bill, Republicans actually did deliver this. However, they did it by reducing coverage levels—which naturally makes policies cheaper—and by making coverage too expensive for older people, who have the highest premiums. In other words, they did it in a way that produces a mathematical reduction, but not in a way that actually helps people in the real world. It was a bit like reducing “average” outlays on Geritol by cutting the recommended dose in half and ending sales to anyone over 50.

Will Senate Republicans do the same? Or do these senators want to reduce premiums on the coverage people actually have right now? I think you know my guess, but I suppose we’ll just have to wait and see. So far it’s still a secret.

AN IMPORTANT UPDATE

We’re falling behind our online fundraising goals and we can’t sustain coming up short on donations month after month. Perhaps you’ve heard? It is impossibly hard in the news business right now, with layoffs intensifying and fancy new startups and funding going kaput.

The crisis facing journalism and democracy isn’t going away anytime soon. And neither is Mother Jones, our readers, or our unique way of doing in-depth reporting that exists to bring about change.

Which is exactly why, despite the challenges we face, we just took a big gulp and joined forces with The Center for Investigative Reporting, a team of ace journalists who create the amazing podcast and public radio show Reveal.

If you can part with even just a few bucks, please help us pick up the pace of donations. We simply can’t afford to keep falling behind on our fundraising targets month after month.

Editor-in-Chief Clara Jeffery said it well to our team recently, and that team 100 percent includes readers like you who make it all possible: “This is a year to prove that we can pull off this merger, grow our audiences and impact, attract more funding and keep growing. More broadly, it’s a year when the very future of both journalism and democracy is on the line. We have to go for every important story, every reader/listener/viewer, and leave it all on the field. I’m very proud of all the hard work that’s gotten us to this moment, and confident that we can meet it.”

Let’s do this. If you can right now, please support Mother Jones and investigative journalism with an urgently needed donation today.

payment methods

AN IMPORTANT UPDATE

We’re falling behind our online fundraising goals and we can’t sustain coming up short on donations month after month. Perhaps you’ve heard? It is impossibly hard in the news business right now, with layoffs intensifying and fancy new startups and funding going kaput.

The crisis facing journalism and democracy isn’t going away anytime soon. And neither is Mother Jones, our readers, or our unique way of doing in-depth reporting that exists to bring about change.

Which is exactly why, despite the challenges we face, we just took a big gulp and joined forces with The Center for Investigative Reporting, a team of ace journalists who create the amazing podcast and public radio show Reveal.

If you can part with even just a few bucks, please help us pick up the pace of donations. We simply can’t afford to keep falling behind on our fundraising targets month after month.

Editor-in-Chief Clara Jeffery said it well to our team recently, and that team 100 percent includes readers like you who make it all possible: “This is a year to prove that we can pull off this merger, grow our audiences and impact, attract more funding and keep growing. More broadly, it’s a year when the very future of both journalism and democracy is on the line. We have to go for every important story, every reader/listener/viewer, and leave it all on the field. I’m very proud of all the hard work that’s gotten us to this moment, and confident that we can meet it.”

Let’s do this. If you can right now, please support Mother Jones and investigative journalism with an urgently needed donation today.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate