The PBA is encouraging its membership once again to utilize the Cap Wiz program on the PBA web site for a very important and urgent matter. Please complete the pre written letter to voice opposition to the Senate’s “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act”, H.R. 3590. It is important that we write U.S. Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand and urge them to vote against this proposal and all similar proposals.
In analyzing these proposals, PBA First Vice President Mark Robillard discovered that an important point that affects us is being glossed over or altogether ignored. That point is this: This government “enhancement” is going to impact our membership in an unfavorable way.
The health care reform debacle continues as many legislators hope eventually a bill will be signed into law by the president. Four key pieces of legislation have emerged that could have a significant effect on health care:
• The House of Representative’s bill H.R. 3962, called the “Affordable Health Care for America Act”;
• The Senate’s Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (“HELP”) Committee bill S. 1679, called the “Affordable Health Choices Act”; and
• The Senate’s Finance Committee bill S. 1796, called “America’s Healthy Future Act”.
• The Senate’s Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act”, H.R. 3590.
The Senate’s HELP Committee approved their bill (S1679) in July 2009. The most detrimental of the proposed bills, “the Baucus bill “(S1796) passed through the Senate Finance Committee in October 2009. The house passed their legislation in November 2009. The Senate’s Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act”, H.R. 3590 moved to the floor for debate and amendments in November 2009.
We shall focus our opposition on the Senate bills. The “Baucus bill” proposed imposing an excise tax of 40 percent on health insurance companies, administrators and self-insured employers whose plans are considered high cost, also known as “Cadillac plans”.
On its face, the term “Cadillac Plan” evokes images of free cosmetic surgery and orthodontia. In fact the term applies to the value of our current health care plan. Our plan has none of the aforementioned fluff, but rather is a comprehensive health plan.
The Baucus bill planned to institute its excise tax beginning 2013 based on a threshold for law enforcement officers as follows: $9850 – Individual Plans $26,000 – Family Plans. The impact of the excise tax will be to drive down our level of benefits as we continually cut them to stay below the cap. The other alternative is that cost sharing will go through the roof as plans work to keep premiums low. As an example, consider the Blue Choice HMO in Rochester. The premium for 2010 is less than the Empire Plan and a 15 to 20% reduction in premium from last year. They achieved that premium level, however, by imposing considerable increases in co-pays for virtually every service. In many cases, the copay doubled.
The excise tax was not proposed in The Senate’s Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (“HELP”) Committee bill (S1679) that passed in July.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. negotiated to create a merged bill that was presented to the Senate and recently a merged health care reform bill, called the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act”, H.R. 3590 passed in a 60-39 party-line vote, to move the bill to the floor for debate and amendments.
If the Senate eventually passes H.R. 3590, it would have to be reconciled with the House legislation, H.R. 3962. If an identical bill were approved in both chambers, it would go to the president to be signed into law.
To send the letter of opposition, please click on the link below.