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Former Washington Journalist
Contributor on The Bipartisan Press
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Insurance companies could save billions of dollars under the Trump administration’s move to undermine patient and consumer protections under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), according to a new analysis from the Center for American Progress.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) wants to undercut an existing rule that bars discrimination in health care. This would give health care entities a license to discriminate against LGBTQ people and many others, according to the analysis, published as a column by the Washington-based, left-leaning think tank.
The proposed change also would no longer require health care providers, pharmacy benefit managers, and insurers to include certain information about patients’ health care rights. That includes providing notices about accessible and quality care in foreign languages spoken by patients with limited proficiency in English, according to the analysis.
This change would limit the ability of about 25 million patients in the United States to understand their medical care and coverage. Documents show that insurance companies lobbied for the elimination of this language access protection.
HHS justifies these attacks on patient protections by claiming that the changes would result in about $3.6 billion in cost savings for providers. Yet nowhere in the proposed rule does HHS address the human cost these savings would have on people who might be unaware of lifesaving medical information.
The future of US healthcare is heating up as a key issue in the coming 2020 elections. Donald Trump has steadily made war against the ACA, also known as Obamacare.
On the other side, some Democratic presidential candidates want to build on Obamacare. Others want to move away entirely to a single-payer “Medicare-for-all” approach.
Read the column: “Attack on the ACA: Undermining Protections for LGBTQ Patients and Language Accessibility Requirements” by Sharita Gruberg