Tuesday, May 9, 2017

AHCA Lets Insurers Hike Rates for New High-Risk Conditions: Being Brown, Female, Gay or Muslim


SAN NARCISO, Calif. (Bennington Vale Evening Transcript) -- Last Thursday’s narrow passage of Trump’s revised health legislation, intended to repeal and replace Obama’s landmark Affordable Care Act, marked the first measurable victory for a struggling administration. Despite controversial provisions for low-income tax credits and phasing out the expansion of Medicaid, alarms have been raised over allowing insurers to hike premiums for covering pre-existing conditions. Trump sweetened the pot Tuesday with sweeping additions to what insurance companies can consider pre-existing conditions: being brown, female, gay or Muslim.

Trump Dropped In to See What Condition Your Condition Was In

The amended bill cleared the House by a thin majority. It will likely face greater opposition in a sharply divided Senate, where Republicans hold only a two-seat advantage. Five moderate GOP senators have also voiced criticisms over the American Health Care Act’s (ACHA) prohibitive overhauls. They could defect and side with Democrats across the aisle.

Trump already assured conservatives that the bill does nothing to rid sick Americans of their pre-existing conditions. “If you have a pre-existing condition, this bill won’t touch it,” the president said. “You get to keep your pre-existing condition forever. Our health care act won’t eliminate any pre-existing conditions you have.”

While the AHCA seemingly retains the ACA’s provision that insurers may not deny coverage to individuals with pre-existing conditions, NPR reported that a potential loophole could unwind those protections: “In a last-minute amendment proposed by Rep. Tom MacArthur, R-N.J., a state could seek permission to allow insurance companies to charge patients more (based on their health history) if their coverage lapses for more than 63 days.”

The MacArthur Amendment could also assist insurance companies by permitting waivers that allow them to set higher premiums for consumers who fall into “high-risk” pools. Typically, one would expect rare ailments, incurable diseases or complex medical problems to shape the criteria that determine the level of risk. But the AHCA’s list of “pre-existing” conditions includes some surprises, including pregnancy, acne, allergies, obesity, headaches and others.

The Center for American Progress estimated that insurers could charge additional fees on premiums for more complex ailments: $4,270 for asthma, $17,060 for pregnancy, $26,180 for rheumatoid arthritis, $71,880 for lung cancer and $140,510 for metastatic cancer, for example.

Some economists have questioned the inclusion of easily treatable and common conditions as prerequisites for dramatic spikes in premiums. Trump defended the intent of the amendment, citing pregnancy as an example.

“Until the baby is delivered, the condition is pre-existing,” he said. “And the $17,000 price tag is there because pregnancy, not childbirth but pregnancy, falls into the cancer category. An unborn baby is basically like a cancer. There’s this parasitic entity inside the woman -- making her sick, fat, just gross looking, and literally stealing food from her body. Not many people know that. Why? So if some knocked-up broad decides to treat this pre-existing condition, she’s asking a doctor to remove what’s essentially a tumor.”

The Hill observed that successfully reforming Obama’s health care reform would be critical for this fledgling White House, noting that its increasingly desperate and erratic chief executive stands prepared to leverage the power of his bully pulpit.

A final victory for President Trump that could prove integral to the rest of his agenda of tax reform and infrastructure spending is no slam dunk and will certainly require the additional expenditure of political capital. Now that Ryan has done his job by nosing the replacement bill past the finish line in the House, he should once again invite President Trump to address a joint session of Congress on the exclusive subject of healthcare reform.

Conservatives Defend Aggressive Bill as Traditional Insurance Practice

Connor Uris, an economic and health strategist for the conservative Freedom Caucus, had directly urged Trump’s circle to push for these spartan revisions when the initial bill failed to gain traction -- or votes -- in March.

“All insurance companies, regardless of what they cover, base their premiums on statistical risk thresholds,” Uris explained. “If you own a house on the cliffs of Malibu, expect to pay more for homeowner’s insurance because your property sits on a sliding foundation of loose mud that can be nudged by even the slightest earthquake.”

He also illustrated how companies in the marketplace price premiums by demographic and ethnographic factors.

“Let’s look at automobile insurance,” Uris said. “Why are premiums higher for certain individuals? Well, take women drivers for starters. They’re more likely to fiddle with mirrors, veer off the road while applying makeup or lose control during a bout of PMS. Young people are threats because they spend more time reading text messages than road conditions. Minorities are generally distracted and dangerous, probably because they’re often involved in gang fights on highways or plowing their vehicles into airport terminals as part of some jihad. But old white men pay less because they cost insurers less. Except for the rarified instance of mowing down pedestrians at Farmers Markets, these motorists are generally shuttled around by chauffeurs, so they’re less perilous for insurers.”

Following Uris’ recommendations, the new AHCA will segregate and eliminate any sponsored care for specific diseases by gender, ethnicity, race and religion.

“Sickle-cell anemia, Tay-Sachs, hyperlipidaemia, malaria, AIDS and suicide-bomb related ailments affect only a specific group of people,” Uris noted. “They are a minority cross-section of the broader nation. Why should real Americans be paying to cover treatments they will never require?”

Although Trumpcare dissolves an insurer’s obligation to cover patients with pre-existing conditions at affordable rates, it stops short of mandating DNA testing to detect yet-to-be conditions. Uris had cautioned against this leniency.

“Without compulsory genetic testing, we could still be saddled with sick people later on,” he said. “We must see if people have a predisposition for cancer, heart disease, diabetes, jungle fever, homosexuality, dangerous belief systems or compromised heredity -- like someone in the family may have had sickle-cell anemia, if you know what I mean.”

New Categories of Pre-existing Conditions Added

To make AHCA more palatable to insurance companies, conservatives in Congress and the genuine Americans who rightfully belong in the nation, the legislation’s architects have now included a more comprehensive set of indisputable risks that exempt health companies from rate ceilings on premiums.

Being Brown

African Americans and Hispanics now fall into one of the redefined risk groups. People with hereditary and genetic ties to the dark continent harbor congenital illnesses that white Americans do not: sickle-cell anemia, Tay-Sachs, hyperlipidaemia and malaria. Unarmed blacks are also 80 percent more likely than armed whites to be gunned down by frightened police officers. Injuries sustained by shooting are common, take priority over patients with less extreme conditions, and generate tremendous treatment costs for emergency room personnel.

Mexicans, Uris explained, exhibit higher risks of being harmed during acts of rape, handling dangerous landscaping equipment, performing unsafe day labor work, taking bullets from DEA agents while attempting to run drugs over the border and exposing their young to drowning while illegally entering the country through midnight river crossings.

Uris indicated that Native Americans would be considered because of rampant alcoholism and the widespread beatings they receive from authorities when protesting to keep oil companies from destroying their sacred lands.


Gay men, by dint of their unnatural sexual proclivities, remain predisposed to contracting all manner of STDs, according to research performed by Uris. Hepatitis C and AIDS, commonly contracted by promiscuous gay men, already occupy positions on the list of pre-existing conditions.


Practitioners of the Islamic faith in America have become targets of armed massacres by alt-right assailants and, though less frequently, mosque burnings. Those engaged in terrorism may require urgent and expensive care after failed suicide bombing attempts. Successful attacks, meanwhile, can fill entire hospitals with innocent Judeo-Christian victims. In every scenario, insurance companies face insurmountable coverage expenses when reimbursing claims.


Beyond the problems associated with childbirth, women also find themselves taking up premium space in treatment facilities and shelters. Mouthy women, Uris pointed out, may be battered regularly for sass. They also sustain injuries while being assaulted by police at civil rights protests or political demonstrations targeting the president’s agenda.

Not Being a Member of Congress

In general, federal employees receive health benefits through the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) Program, administered by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM). Members of Congress and designated congressional staff also receive employer-sponsored insurance (ESI) through the District of Columbia’s small business health options program (SHOP) exchange, also known as DC Health Link.

As with most federal employees, Congress members enjoy “employer sponsored” contributions toward their health care premiums.

According to the Congressional Research Service, “the employer contribution is set at 72% of the weighted average of all FEHB plan premiums, not to exceed 75% of any given plan’s premium.”

Because the federal government is the employer of record, and because the federal government’s revenues come directly from taxpayers, private citizens essentially pay for three-quarters of a congressperson’s health premiums. Uris astutely reasoned that not being a representative or senator instantly puts most Americans at risk of incurring tremendous debt or bankruptcy from ridiculously unaffordable medical costs.

(c) 2017. Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License. All articles are works of satire. See disclaimers.

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