by Bryna Koch, MPH
Martha McSally really wants you to forget her health insurance coverage voting record. I mean, it isn’t like 42% of Americans are worried about “not being able to pay medical costs for normal healthcare” or that 51% are worried about “not being able to pay medical costs in the event of a serious illness or accident.”
Why don’t we just forget her votes to cut health insurance? Well it can be hard to forget something Americans are spending more and more on each year. Health care spending among households has increased from an average of $2500 per person in 1984 to $5000 per person in 2018. This increase is not driven by medical care services, but increasing health insurance costs, which have increased 740% since 1984! The Affordable Care Act slowed the rate of increases in health care spending, but make no mistake, the cost of health insurance coverage to families continue to rise.
If you can’t forget about her record, she would really like you to stop listening to everyone who says her votes on health care would have hurt people with pre-existing conditions. It totally wasn’t a big deal that her vote in 2017 for the American Health Care Act (AHCA) could have caused you or a family member to lose some health insurance benefits or lose health insurance coverage entirely due to higher costs!
In Arizona alone, 1 million people and 26% of the non-elderly population have pre-existing conditions. Remember before the ACA, people trying to purchase health insurance could be denied coverage, charged exorbitant premiums, have lifetime coverage limits preventing necessary medical care, or have their coverage canceled all because of pre-existing conditions.
McSally really wants you to forget her now famous exclamation to “let’s get this f*%$& thing done” about the AHCA, the 2017 bill that, if it had passed, would have led to 14 million more uninsured Americans by 2018 and 23 million by 2026.
She really would like you to forget that the bill she enthusiastically supported would have made deep and painful cuts, $880 billion over ten years, to the Medicaid program. Medicaid provides health insurance coverage to 1 in 5 Arizonans, and covers 50% of all births in our state. Nationally, Medicaid covers 44% of children with special health needs and 62% of seniors in nursing homes.
Speaking of seniors, McSally’s vote for the AHCA would have increased the premiums by 20 – 25% for older adults.
While McSally was throwing Grandma under the bus with her age tax and health care cuts, the same bill she really really wanted to pass gave away $200 billion in tax breaks to pharmaceutical and health insurance companies. She also supported ending the Hospital Insurance payroll tax on high earners and the Medicare tax on unearned income, actions which would have sent billions to the rich, with millionaires getting 80% of the benefits!.
Just put it out of your mind, would you, that when she couldn’t pass her harmful AHCA to gut Medicaid and give the rich a massive windfall, she and her Republican colleagues then repealed the ACA tax penalty associated with the individual mandate in the 2017 tax bill. This repeal led to “a lawsuit arguing that the individual mandate repeal rendered the entire ACA unconstitutional, including popular provisions such as protections for people with preexisting health conditions.” This lawsuit now puts every single protection of the ACA at risk.
No matter how hard she wishes we would just close our eyes and keep paying our medical bills, we won’t forget about Mcsally’s health insurance voting record. Our lives and the lives of our loved ones depend on us remembering.
Check out our other articles on McSally’s health coverage and health care record.