Sen. Elizabeth Warren says a new health insurance plan slated to replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will have seriously dangerous implications for health care in Massachusetts. “What this Republican proposal does is just absolutely tears it apart, and will knock us backward by years and will leave, literally in Massachusetts, hundreds of thousands of people without care,” Warren said in an interview with “Boston Public Radio” Wednesday. “[It] will force all of those unpaid-for services on to community health centers, onto our hospitals, onto our doctors, [and] just leave families where more of them will be bankrupt because of medical bills.”
The proposal, unveiled Monday, would offer refundable tax credits to individuals for health insurance and would restructure the Medicaid program with a per-person reimbursement cap. Wealthy Americans would no longer pay two major taxes; a 0.9 percent for taxpayers who earn more than $200,000 annually, or $250,000 for married couples, and a 3.8 percent tax on income from investments. According to Warren, this plan would hit middle-class and working class communities the hardest. “I am really worried about this,” she said. “I’m worried about every part of it. This is about more tax cuts for the rich and making the burden fall harder on working families.”
The plan also includes a provision to roll back the expansion and federal funding the Medicaid program by 2020. “I’m worried about the shrinking Medicaid expansion… the way we got 97 percent coverage in Massachusetts is not because we just decreed it, it’s because we figured out how to work within the Affordable Care Act and get money back into our system,” Warren said. “The one thing that we have really, really, really done a great job on is building a health care system in Massachusetts that took every opportunity under the Affordable Care Act to expand coverage, to develop our community health centers, [and] to support our rural hospitals and our research hospitals.”
According to Warren, the way that Massachusetts adopted to the implemented the ACA could be dramatically affected by Trump’s plan, which she perceives as a pointless exercise in pride. “All of this, why? So that they can help the top .1 percent get richer? So that they can stand up and beat their chests to say, ‘we got rid of Obamacare?’” she said. “This is just so fundamentally cruel...They’re trying to ram this thing through right now so that they can do what? So they can turn our healthcare system upside down, not so they can make it better, but so they can turn it upside down to once again make Washington work great for those at the top and just kick dirt in the faces of everybody else.”
Warren urged those who oppose the bill to continue to protest and reach out to their congresspeople by letter and over the phone. “This past week when people were back in their home districts, a lot of republicans faced a lot of heat. I think that’s really important,” she said, “to make that personal and to be right in the faces of the people who represent them down here in Washington, and to make sure they are not just representing the richest of the rich but that they are representing the people who actually voted them into office.”
To hear Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s full interview with Boston Public Radio, click on the audio link above.