We said goodbye to President Obama in January and soon we might be saying farewell to his biggest legislative accomplishment — Obamacare.
The Affordable Care Act (i.e. Obamacare’s official name) is getting the boot. How soon? It could be any day now.
A new reform bill called the American Health Care Act goes to the House floor this week for a final round of votes. The “repeal and replace” bill is something President Trump campaigned on, and after months of anticipation, he and the GOP are finally in a position to see if they can deliver.
The AHCA’s journey to fruition has been anything but smooth. The GOP openly disagreed on a course of action for America’s healthcare reform and Trump admitted that “nobody knew healthcare could be so complicated.”
But the back and forth aside— change is coming. Here’s what the new plan lays out.
The New Plan
- Eliminate the individual and employer mandate penalties.
- Prohibit health insurers from denying coverage/charging more money to patients based on pre-existing conditions. (This is a popular Obamacare provision that is staying.)
- Young adults will be able to remain on their parents’ health insurance plans until the age of 26. (Another Obamacare provision that will stick around and one many insurers provided prior to Obamacare.)
- Medicaid funding will transition to a “per capita allotment” i.e. block grants so that states can individually allocate funds where and how they see fit.
- Establish a Patient and State Stability Fund. This would give states $100 billion to design programs for their patient populations.
- Enhance and expand Health Savings Accounts.
What People Are Saying
As with any legislation that affects a large number of Americans, there’s a lot of chatter about the AHCA. Here’s a bit of the conversation low-down:
- The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the AHCA would save $337 billion in federal funds over the next decade. It also predicts it could impact 24 million people who have to make a decision on health insurance.
- Based on the current plan, an Associated Press analysis of data from the Kaiser Family Foundation shows people ages 55 and older would be disproportionately affected by the AHCA. A CBO analysis said a 64-year-old with an income of $26,500 would pay $1,700 out-of-pocket for insurance under the ACA, compared with $14,600 under the new GOP plan. House Speaker Paul Ryan said they are making adjustments to address this concern.
- Conservatives want to end Medicaid expansion to 11 million additional low-income people next year (not in 2020 as the bill proposes) and also want to do away with insurance requirements like mandatory coverage of specified services like drug counseling.
- Some legislators are saying they want to “get this (bill) right” while others are saying that they can’t support a bill that “keeps premiums rising.”
We’ll see how the AHCA’s journey continues to unfold, and if you’re worried about how this affects you immediately; don’t fret! Once a new bill gets passed in the House, it still has the Senate to go through and won’t go into immediate effect. It’s unlikely that anything will change until next year. In the meantime, we’ll make sure to keep you posted on how this new bill plays out.
Healthcare is complicated, no matter who’s president. One way to uncomplicate the fiscal burden of healthcare is to roll back state-based mandates that drive up the price of health insurance for everyone. Believe in this too? Join us.