Whether or not you’re a fan, or even voted for him, there’s no way around it: Donald Trump, the reality TV show star and real estate mogul known for the catchphrase “You’re fired!” is now the 45th President of the United States. Part of his campaign involved a promise to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the healthcare reform passed under Obama. It looks like Trump, along with the rest of the GOP, will be following through on that promise.
A few days ago, the Republican party, in conjunction with President Trump, revealed their plan to replace the ACA with a very different approach to making sure Americans have access to healthcare.
Called the Patient Freedom Act, this particular plan takes a very different approach than the ACA. It leaves the most important decisions to each individual state, rather than dictating them at a federal level.
If a particular state wants to keep the ACA, they’re permitted to keep it in its entirety. This includes its mandates, subsidies, and protections for people who have a pre-existing condition that complicates their ability to find affordable insurance.
There will also be an option to opt out of the ACA entirely. The states that choose this option will be able to adopt a substitute plan. The alternative plan will provide people with a uniform tax credit, connected to a special health savings account. This is designed to help people in need, afford a less comprehensive and very basic health plan, without being pressured to pay more than they can afford.
The states that opt out of the ACA will receive 95% of the federal funding of what they would have received from the ACA.
What Does This Mean for You?
Whether or not you’ll still be covered under the ACA will depend on what state you live in. Presumably, blue states may be more likely than red states to opt to keep the ACA. Because the Patient Freedom Act has not been formally introduced to legislation, some details are not yet known, such as the size of the tax credits in question.
Controversy Surrounding the Patient Freedom Act
Naturally, the Patient Freedom Act is not without its detractors. There are both Democratic and Republican politicians who aren’t in favor of this particular solution to addressing the flaws in the ACA. Many Republicans would prefer to eliminate the ACA entirely, rather than keeping parts of it or allowing states to choose to retain it.
The specifics haven’t been worked out completely, and in the coming months, we should have more information about exactly what the Patient Freedom Act will entail. But it seems clear that both parties are trying to reach a compromise while keeping healthcare affordable for the Americans that need it most.