The American Health Care Act (AHCA) is repealing a number of Obamacare inclusions that may severely affect certain segments of the population. Before the amendments, the AHCA bill score indicates that millions will lose health insurance coverage.
The United States House of Representatives passed the new bill on May 4th, which basically repeals taxes and other payments that were part of Obamacare.
It’s purported as a solution, decreasing budget deficit by $119 billion in the next 10 years. However, it will do so by cutting Medicaid coverage for lower income citizens, and leave 23 million uninsured during the same period.
Below are a few changes that will drastically affect American health care system with passage of the American Health Care Act.
Remove essential health benefits and pricing limitations
With the new bill in place, states will now have the option to waive off insurers need to cover essential health benefits and to charge the same amount to everyone, irrespective of their health history.
The latter inclusion ensured that Americans with pre-existing conditions won’t have to pay higher costs for health care. The amendment will take away this protection from people who are, for some reason, unable to maintain health insurance coverage continuously.
People who are more at risk due to pre-existing conditions will be paying more for health care coverage.
Phase out Medicaid expansion
It was almost impossible for low-income adults without children to receive Medicaid coverage before the Affordable Care Act. The act allowed individuals making up the 133% of federal poverty line to avail coverage, which helped decrease the rates of uninsured individuals.
However, the expansion will freeze by 2020, and no newly eligible people will be added to Medicaid rolls anymore. Considering that people on Medicaid will often cycle in and out depending on their employment status, the coverage is estimated to drop significantly.
This means a lot of low income Americans will be unable to benefit from the Medicaid program.
Pay tax credits
When buying insurance on your own, you’d be taxed according to your age instead of your income. In contrast, ACA tax credits were based on income and location. The amendment will increase the tax with age while phasing the tax out for those who earn over $75,000 (individuals) or $150,000 (families).
This means elderly care will be more difficult and expensive.
These amendments will essentially benefit people who are healthier and high-earning, while putting those with preexisting conditions, elderly and low-income Americans at a disadvantage.
In March, the Congressional Budget Office indicated that fewer people will be covered with these amendments, and the bill has undergone ‘serious revisions’ since then.
The Better Care Reconciliation Act
Since the House passed the ACHA, Senate Republicans have been working on their own version of a bill to “repeal and replace” the ACA. The Senate’s version of the bill, dubbed the “Better Care Reconciliation Act” or BCRA differs somewhat from the House version.
The BCRA would still roll back Medicaid expansion. It would still cap cap Medicaid spending, meaning that many of those who rely on Medicaid for care may not have the coverage they currently have.
The BCRA, according to NPR, would also provide less generous subsidies for people to buy insurance individual insurance markets while also eliminating most of the taxes that Obamacare imposed to help pay for itself.
At any rate, this most complicated piece of legislation isn’t just another tax bill or allocation of highway funds. Health care affects every American, and the prospect of huge changes that wouldn’t provide actual fixes for the American people means that passing the bill as it stands is unlikely. It will take more negotiation on the part of Republicans to get the bill passed, since it appears that as it stands, both the House and Senate versions are almost as unpopular as Obamacare.
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