Patricia Stallworth No Comments

It’s Monday so let’s catch up on news that can affect your wallet. Well, there’s a lot going on but front and center is the Republicans latest effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. Whether you like the ACA or not the alternative to it – the Graham-Cassidy bill appears to be so bad that I have not really heard anyone say anything good about it.

In fact, even the insurance industry doesn’t like it. So what’s so bad about it and why are they pushing so hard for a bill that would mean that millions of Americans would lose coverage? To get more information I turned to an article by Nancy Shute of NPR where she makes a direct comparison between the ACA and all of the latest health care bills proposed by the GOP including the Graham-Cassidy bill and she also includes a chart so that you can see at a glance the differences in the bill.

Here are three major flashpoints covered in her article:

Flashpoint #1: Pre-existing conditions. The ACA requires insurers to cover pre-existing conditions without charging more. The GOP bills passed or proposed would give states the power to waive that requirement which could ultimately mean higher and even unaffordable rates if you have a pre-existing condition.

Flashpoint #2: Medicaid. This federal and state insurance program provides health care for 20 percent of all Americans, including 40 percent of children, half of all births, 60 percent of nursing home expenses and 25 percent of mental health care. The Graham-Cassidy bill would transform the structure of Medicaid, giving states control over how they spend federal funds and Medicaid funding would be cut over time.

Flashpoint #3: Essential Health Benefits. The Affordable Care Act requires that insurers cover 10 “essential health benefits,” including maternity care, mental health, hospitalization, prescription drugs, emergency care, and children’s health. The GOP proposals would let states opt out of those requirements, affecting insurance sold on the exchanges and employer-based coverage.

Get a link to the full article at Episode 741. But as you can see from my brief description, there is potentially something in this bill to touch everyone in an adverse way with one exception – if you are wealthy. This bill removes the additional tax for wealthy individuals and increases the amount people could deposit tax-free into health savings accounts and also would allow people to make tax advantaged catch-up contributions.

Now, as for why they are pushing so hard for this bill that would hurt so many people. I have some theories but that is really a conversation for another day.

So what should you do if you feel that this bill is not in the best interests of your wallet? Well, if you don’t like the bill protest – call your senator and let them know. You elected them to work for you, now tell them what you want. As I have been so often been reminded, democracy is not a spectator sport.

And that’s it for today. Got a question? Send it to me at and follow me on Twitter at PatStallworth.

Thanks so much for listening and as always remember that minding your money really is the path to a richer life!