Raleigh – Thom Tillis reintroduced the “Protect Act” this week in a desperate attempt to cover up his long history pushing to gut protections for people with preexisting conditions.
Early reports exposed this as an unserious proposal that “doesn’t have the votes to move forward,” and that Tillis and other vulnerable Republicans are “scrambling” because they “want badly to look like pioneers” but “that’s a hard image to craft.” As the Los Angeles Times editorial board wrote, the bill is “really about protecting Senate Republicans from the stink caused by the Trump administration’s efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.”
Aside from being a hollow messaging bill, the “Protect Act” would leave North Carolinians with preexisting conditions more vulnerable than under current law. Kaiser Family Foundation’s Larry Levitt summed up the real-world impacts:
“Unlike the ACA, the new Republican pre-existing condition bill would not disallow lifetime or annual limits, cap patient out-of-pocket costs, require coverage of essential benefits, prohibit gender rating, or provide subsidies to make premiums more affordable.” [Twitter, 4/11/19]
In other words, under Tillis’ bill:
- Insurers could reimpose lifetime or annual limits on coverage, meaning patients with chronic illnesses like diabetes who reach their cap would be left out in the cold
- Big insurance companies could choose not to cover critical essential health benefits like maternity care
- Women could face more costly coverage simply because of their gender
- Many North Carolinians could end up facing higher insurance premiums or being forced to pay more out-of-pocket.
Together with Tillis’ other big idea to recycle and revisit the failed 2017 plans he pushed that would gut protections for preexisting conditions and raise premiums for North Carolinians, it’s clear Tillis has no serious plan for North Carolinians’ health care.
“Thom Tillis continues to show that his main motivation is his own political interests, not doing what’s right for North Carolinians’ health care,” NCDP spokesman Robert Howard said. “Tillis not only is trying to paper over a long history of voting to gut protections for people with preexisting conditions, but his solution would leave more North Carolinians vulnerable to the bottom lines of big insurance companies. North Carolinians can’t trust Tillis and see right through his latest political charade.”