09 Mar 2017

The American Health Care Act: A Potential Obamacare Replacement

The American Health Care Act: A Potential Obamacare Replacement

After many months of discussion regarding the fate of Obamacare, the House of Energy and Commerce as well as the Ways and Means committees have finally released their replacement plan. The bill has not yet been scored by the Congressional Budget Office which leaves us with two hefty questions; how many people will gain or lose coverage under this law? And, what are the costs associated with it?

Despite these unknowns, the drafts of the combined legislation confirm that;

  1. Obamacare taxes and penalties will be dismantled.

Citizens and employers who opt out of purchasing healthcare will no longer be penalized.

  1. Vital patient protections will be preserved and instilled.

Health insurers are not allowed to deny coverage to patients with pre-existing conditions. Additionally, dependents can continue to receive benefits from their parents’ plan till the age of 26.

  1. Patient and State stability funds will be established.

$100 billion will be provided for the creation of programs that are catered to the needs of the citizens of the respective state.

  1. Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) will be expanded.

HSAs will be enhanced to allow for more monetary contributions. According to the Republican Party, this expansion will “empower individuals and families” as they will be given the opportunity to spend their health care dollars at their own discretion.

 

  1. Monthly tax credits will be provided to low and middle-income citizens.

Individuals and families who have low to middle-incomes and who are not insured through their work or a government plan will be provided with a monthly tax credit of $2,000 to $14,000.

Although significant changes have been made, the bill does retain some key components of Obamacare. The features that seem to remain are the expansion of Medicaid as well as the assistance provided to lower-income Americans.

Nonetheless, major concern has risen since the release of the replacement plan regarding its lack of coverage for abortions and its defunding of Planned Parenthood. The government aims to stop subsidizing patient planned parenthood visits, forcing them to look for care elsewhere. Moreover, the bill could eliminate both public and private insurance coverage of abortion, thereby obliging women to have to pay the full cost which can range between $500 and tens of thousands of dollars.

It is not certain that the new healthcare act will remain unchanged as of yet. There have been parties praising it while others have expressed their utmost rejection of its policies. It is important to note that the plan is still subject to amendment before it is voted on by the House and Senate. We will likely see changes to the presented statements in the near future therefore, it may be wise to continue to track its transformations and transitions.

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