The American Health Care Act is here, and it has already earned a place in history. Few pieces of realistic legislation have arrived to such a chorus of resoundingly negative analysis.
Whether it's the AARP's criticism that this would weaken Medicare, the revelation that this bill would most hurt Republican voters or the CBO's finding that up to 24 million Americans could lose their insurance, almost everyone who knows anything about health care has come out against this bill becoming law.
By now all of this has been well covered, along with the vast wealth transfer it would affect from the sick and the poor to the healthy and wealthy. Why is that? What has almost every expert lined up to declare this law a dumpster fire before it's lit?
Here are five of the biggest reasons:
Prioritizing "Access" Will Lead to Underinsurance
It has been said before but cannot be said enough that the terminology of "access" to health insurance is at best imprecise and at worst deceptive.
"The first question is this very interesting verb and/or noun regarding 'access,'" said Dr. Mark Fendrick, director of the University of Michigan's Value-Based Insurance Design Center. "I think there will be lots of access to insurance products and services, but the level of coverage that we will have for that access is unknown."
"I heard one really smart colleague of mine say, 'we all have access to a yacht but we don't buy it.'"
One of the key design principles behind the AHCA has been a focus on increasing access to insurance, but that's a policy sleight of hand. Regardless of market availability, unless consumers can afford the premiums and deductibles on health insurance they won't have access to health care, and that's the important part.