It seems our local and national news outlets have missed an important part of the health care bill that is under consideration. Yes, this bill has major effects to those on Medicaid and in the individual market. However, there has been little discussion about another group that will be drastically affected: Those who receive health insurance through their employer.

If the Senate bill were to become law, it would greatly expand states’ ability to waive essential benefits and patient protections. This means that states could decide to waive the requirement for health insurance to have annual out-of-pocket maximums or they could reinstate lifetime limits that were common prior to passing the Affordable Care Act.

Even if Iowa doesn’t seek waivers, multi-state companies would be able to choose any other state’s essential benefits in which they are located. This is known as the race to bottom because companies can choose whichever state has the most relaxed requirements, and we lose out.

By allowing these safeguards to be waived, we encounter situations where a premature baby could potentially reach her lifetime limit before she ever leaves the hospital. We would have situations where a family faces financial ruin while they cope with burying a parent who lost a long battle with cancer. In a nation as wealthy as ours, how can that be acceptable?

Remember, this bill affects your family and your neighbors. Please call the offices for U.S. Sens. Joni Ernst and Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and remind them of that fact.

Mark Bussell

Marion, Iowa

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