10-Point Expert: The American Health Care Act

Or aka the GOP’s replacement for the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare).

 

 

We’ve been hearing Congressional Republicans talk about their Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) replacement for what feels like forever! Even President Donald Trump hyped the Republican healthcare plan on multiple occasions!

 

 

So here it is, Congressional Republicans, along with the Trump administration, have unveiled their healthcare plan that would replace the Affordable Care Act; the American Health Care Act! So is it the end-all-be-all healthcare solution we’ve been waiting for? Let’s do a deep dive with our 10-Point Expert!  

 

(UPDATE 03/21/17: The Trump administration and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan have started to make the hard sell to Congressional GOP in regards to the American Health Care Act. New amendments are being added to the original legislation. You can read about them here.)  

 

(UPDATE 05/04/17: A version of the AHCA has passed in the House. You can read about it more here.)

 

 

Point 1: The American Health Care Act (AHCA) is the Congressional Republicans and Trump administration’s healthcare plan to replace the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare).

 

Point 2: Before we get into the nitty-gritty details with the American Health Care Act (AHCA), it’s important to realize that the AHCA has very different goals than what the Affordable Care Act (ACA) had. While the ACA tried to expand coverage to as many people as possible – with initiatives like expanding Medicaid and creating market exchanges – the AHCA’s main goals look to be to reduce the cost of healthcare on the federal government, even if that means reducing the number of people eligible for healthcare. While we go over the details of the AHCA, it’s important to keep that in mind.

 

“To understand the reasoning behind the AHCA, just remember WWTMDMD – What Would the Million Dollar Man Do?”

 

Point 3: There are key features from the ACA that have been completely removed in the AHCA. For starters, the tax on people who don’t purchase health insurance is completely gone. The “ACA fine” has been a major talking point among Republicans for a while now, so it’s not surprising to see it gone completely in the AHCA.

 

Point 4: Another provision that is different in the Republican’s AHCA is how the new plan allows health insurers to dictate what can be covered by health insurance bought in the healthcare market places. Thus, while this could potentially help younger/healthier individuals that bought plans in the insurance marketplaces (by having skinnier coverage that reduces cost), older/sicker individuals could end up paying more since costs that were once covered by the ACA are no longer covered under the AHCA. This is a VERY important point and one we’ll get back to it in a bit.

 

Point 5: Two of the biggest protections that were kept in the AHCA from the ACA are (1) that young adults could stay on their parents plans till they’re 26-years-old and (2) those with preexisting conditions won’t be denied from getting health insurance. Originally many were worried that the Republican’s health plan would take out both protections introduced in the ACA, but that looks to not be the case.

 

Point 6: Another provision that has also been kept in the AHCA is the plan of Medicaid expansion, but only till January 2020. As you may know, the Medicaid expansion plan was a vital part in the ACA, however in the AHCA, Republicans are hoping that the end of the Medicaid expansion in 2020 will make those that have lost coverage seek health insurance through other (more asinine) avenues…

 

 

Point 7: In understanding that last point better, it’s important to remember the main goal of the AHCA; to lower the costs of healthcare on the federal government. So even though there are some major provisions in the Republican plan that are kept in from the ACA, it’s only logical that millions of Americans would lose health coverage (or their current plans would be greatly narrowed down) to save on overall costs. So when Republicans say that the end of programs like Medicaid expansion or narrowing of coverage would be offset by the AHCA’s plan to offer tax credits towards healthcare services, they basically are saying the loss in coverage would be covered through tax credits that the AHCA provides. However, many groups are calling foul on that general philosophy!

 

Point 8: Numerous (and some very powerful) healthcare political groups ranging from the American Hospital Association to the American Medical Association to the AARP all vehemently oppose the Republicans’ AHCA due to the lack of coverage it provides for those that are currently enrolled in the ACA marketplaces, notably the old and sick. Yet the real kicker comes in the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office’s report that says 24 million Americans would lose insurance coverage under the AHCA! To put that number into perspective, that’s around the population of Australia and New Zealand combined!!!

 

“That is a WHOLE lot of people!”

 

Point 9: As expected, the Trump administration supports the AHCA even if it would go against President Trump’s promise of not “touching” the entitlements of Medicaid or Medicare. Yet at the same time, the White House looks to not be that enthusiastic about being permanently connected to the bill.

 

Point 10: At the end of the day, the AHCA would basically be a boon for the young, healthy, middle-class Americans and be a HUGE burden on basically everyone else; especially for poor, older Americans. Even though the AHCA, according to the Congressional Budget Office, would create $323 billion in on-budget savings and $13 billion in off-budget savings, that would be at the expense of a TON of people losing their health insurance! Still, it looks unlikely that the AHCA will pass either the House or Senate due to the massive push-back from political groups and constituents from numerous congressional districts. Even though Republicans for over a decade had promised to repeal the ACA and replace it with a “better plan”, as it stands right now, that plan won’t be the AHCA.

 

 

(Photo Credits: Google Images, Pixabay.com)

 

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