It seems like one day America is making headway on a new healthcare initiative or bill, and then the next day any progress towards an agreement comes to a halt.
Repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) has been more challenging than the GOP anticipated.
Ever since Trump took office in January, Republicans and Democrats have debated how to move forward with a healthcare plan for the country. Earlier this month, two senators reached an agreement on a bipartisan healthcare bill, which intended to stabilize insurance markets by restoring cost-sharing reduction payments. It looked like we were on our way to a long anticipated answer to our question — “What’s going on with healthcare?” — but then Trump pulled out of the decision to move forward, accusing the bill of “bailing out” insurance companies..
As 2017 winds down, the constant flux and ambiguity has a lot of people wondering — what’s the deal with healthcare in the U.S. and how will the uncertainty affect people in 2018?
While we don’t have all the answers, this is what we can break down for you.
Healthcare right now
- The Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) is still the federal healthcare law, despite unsuccessful efforts by congressional Republicans to repeal and replace it.
- A U.S. judge rejected an injunction requested by 18 states and the District of Columbia to force the Trump administration to resume reimbursing insurers for the costs of lowering out-of-pocket costs for consumers. These payments are given to insurers for the costs of reducing copays and deductibles for low-income customers who buy coverage through the healthcare marketplaces created by Obama's law. Earlier this month President Trump announced that he will cut off the payments, criticizing the subsidies as insurance company bailouts. The White House says the government cannot legally continue paying them because there is no formal authorization from Congress. The lawsuit by the 18 states and D.C., however, will continue.
Healthcare, looking towards the future
- Since the ACA is still the federal healthcare law, you must have health insurance in 2018 or you’ll face a tax penalty, if the Trump administration chooses to enforce it.
- A Democratic senator is introducing legislation that would allow states to set up their own public healthcare option by expanding Medicaid (the insurance program paid for by both federal and state governments that currently covers low-income individuals). The law is proposing that any American, regardless of income status, can buy into it. This is just one of many healthcare proposals being considered by members of Congress for the coming year. In the GOP controlled congress, this has virtually no chance of passing.
- House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan said they’re shelving healthcare talks until the 2018 U.S. Congressional year and that Republican lawmakers will not take up a bipartisan plan to stabilize Obamacare insurance markets or try again to repeal and replace the law this year.
We’ll keep you posted as things play out, but in the meantime, make sure you have a game plan for you and your family’s healthcare next year.
How do you feel about the current state of healthcare in America? Tell us in the comments or share with us on Facebook.