On May 04, 2017, Donald Trump’s administration finally managed to submit their new health care bill – the American Health Care Act, also known as “Trumpcare” and “Republicare” – for approval by the Senate. This bill, intended to replace the Affordable Care Act, has been widely criticized by both the public and the Democratic Party, with only 20% of Americans supporting it in its current state. But why was the AHCA so poorly received? How would the U.S. healthcare system change if it were to be approved as is?
- Trumpcare would advantage the young, healthy and wealthy. Under Trumpcare, the top earners of the United States would benefit from 664 billion dollars in tax cuts. Less privileged US citizens, on the other hand, would see their premiums rise significantly. Older citizens would take the brunt of this change: insurance providers would gain the right to charge them up to five times the normal premiums, almost twice as much as they could under Obamacare.
- The number of uninsured Americans would rise. According to projections, Trumpcare would cause the number of Americans without health insurance to almost double over eight years. Some insurance markets may become unstable as a consequence, with snowballing premium rates feeding into a vicious circle. Lower income earners and senior citizens – who need insurance the most – would find it very hard to afford it. Lack of insurance could lead to almost 30, 000 deaths every year.
- There would be $834 billion in cuts to Medicaid. Under the American Health Care Act, less people would be eligible for Medicaid (a health insurance program for low income earners and the disabled), and the benefits for those who do qualify would be reduced due to the severe cuts the Republicans plan to make to the program.
- Insurance policies would not have to cover essential services. Under Obamacare, all insurance policies have to cover certain services like hospitalization and prescription drugs. If Trumpcare were to pass as is, each state would get to decide for themselves which services are essential and which aren’t.
- Tax penalties for people without insurance would be abolished. Under Trumpcare, the tax penalties for people without health insurance would be replaced with a “continuous coverage” penalty: if you were to go at least 63 consecutive days without having insurance, your premiums would increase by 30% for a year the next time you bought insurance. This is a double-edged sword: tax penalties are one of the most reviled parts of the Affordable Care Act, but experts believe the Republican replacement would not provide enough motivation to make young and healthy people sign up for health insurance and contribute to the collective pools. This would greatly drive up the price of insurance premiums.
Before Trumpcare can become law, however, it must be approved by the Senate, which has made it clear that the bill will require a lot of reworking and rewriting in order to make it workable, and that the process could take months. After that, it will need to be approved by the Congress again. For more information on the topic of health insurance, or if you’re looking for an affordable insurance plan for yourself and your family, head to HealthQuoteInfo.