Embattled Congressman Steve Knight (R-Palmdale) spent the past several years voting to undermine the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare. But what if Knight and Republicans had just left the ACA alone?
Looking at health care policy from 2017, the Brookings Institution researched what would happen in a “stable policy environment,” meaning there were no changes from the Republican-controlled Congress or the Trump administration.
Under those conditions, “the nationwide average per member per month premium in the individual market would fall by 4.3 percent in 2019.”
But Knight and Republicans refused to support the popular ACA. Instead, Knight joined with House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) and most other Republicans in supporting health care changes tucked into the unpopular tax bill.
In addition, the Trump administration made “junk insurance” options more widely available. While cheaper, these options are not required to provide the protections of ACA-compliant plans, such as covering pre-existing conditions and prescription medication. A recent study from the Kaiser Family Foundation found that none of the junk insurance options cover maternity care.
These two changes to health care policy, according to Brookings, will “cause many healthier people to leave the individual market and thereby raise individual market premiums.”
So instead of health care premiums falling in 2019, Knight and Republicans instituted policies that are driving costs up for consumers. In California, premiums are expected to increase by 9 percent next year.
A separate study by the Center for American Progress broke down the cost of Republican health care sabotage by congressional district. In the district currently represented by Knight, a family of four can expect to pay about $2,300 per year in higher premiums. That breaks down to just shy of $200 per month, thanks to policies supported by Knight.
Katie Hill, the Democrat running to oust Knight, lists health care as the first issue on her “Issues” page. While Knight has voted to undermine the ACA, Hill says, “I am ready to take immediate steps to provide health care relief for the people who need it by strengthening the ACA and laying the foundation for a Medicare For All system that works for all of us.”
Meanwhile, Knight’s campaign website does not even list health care as a policy issue. He seems content to let his voting record speak for itself.