The American Health Care Act

First – it is nearly impossible to find unbiased information on the Republican replacement (the American Health Care Act) of the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. ACA, Obamacare) so I’m going to try to take this from several different sources (biased either way or not) and see if it is the end-all savior that some think or the worst plan ever as others think.

Add in, this law, being written like many laws, spends a lot of space referring to other laws and would require an entire team to be able to fully understand then explain the law (it is like “The Handbook for the Recently Deceased” in Beetlejuice – “This book reads like stereo instructions).  The initial law, though, is much shorter than the original ACA – only about 123 pages.  Please also note, this is a first draft and likely to change.  If there are parts of this act that you do not like I highly recommend that you get in contact with your lawmakers – and do it quickly.

I do have the bill available here if you would like to read it.

 

  • The Good:
    • Getting rid of the fee (er, tax) for uninsured people. I do not know how lawmakers though this was a good idea – taxing people who don’t have insurance (either voluntarily or not being able to afford it).  Personally I am glad this is gone because I am sure there are many people out there who do not qualify for state insurance (Medicade) nor do they qualify for any discounts / subsidies though the ACA to be able to afford insurance.  BUT – see below.  Insurance companies will be able to charge people 30% more if they have a gap in coverage which could end up costing people who cannot afford insurance more when their situation changes.
  • The Neutral:
    • Allowing children to stay on their parent’s insurance until they are 26. This is one of the “big” changes I see on Republican leaning websites but under the ACA children could already be covered under their parent’s insurance until 26.
    • Pre-existing conditions. Both plans offer protection if you have a pre-existing condition.  Before, insurance providers could deny coverage or raise your rates because of a condition you have prior to signing up with them.  This is a great part of both plans and I am glad to see that it’s covered under the new plan.
  • The Bad:
    • Strip funding for Planned Parenthood. This is one of the worst things they could have done.  While the right claim is all about abortions, Planned Parenthood does not use Federal funding to pay for abortions (not just that, but there has been a Federal law already in place that bans this).  They rely on for abortions is payments for the service, donations, and, if legal, state funding.  The Federal funding for Planned Parenthood goes towards screening, testing, birth control, education, counseling, training, etc.
    • Allowing insurance companies charge people 30% more for a gap in coverage. This is just bringing back the fee that they were so against with the ACA and will make it difficult for people who could not afford insurance to get insurance when their situation changes.  (personal comment – so let me get this right – they can’t charge more for pre-existing conditions but can charge more for not being able to afford insurance).  This could also add up to more than what the penalties under the ACA would cost.
    • Potentially reversing income limits to qualify for Medicaid. Under the ACA people who made under $16,400 a year qualified for Medicaid and people who made under $30,000 a year qualified for subsidized health insurance.  Word has it that this will be reversed but I cannot find wording on what the new limits will be.
    • Per-capita cap / repeal of Medicaid expansion. The Federal government would, in a sense, hand over the financial aspect of managing Medicaid by issuing a set amount per person covered.  If the state does not have extra funding then they could end up cutting coverage for people or lowering payments to healthcare providers.

This is also my short list from news stories (luckily even opposing sides agree on the major points).  I am not sure if I’ll have time to read the entire bill but I have uploaded it to this site and you can read it here.

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