March 14th, 2017
Republican Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan is widely credited with writing the American Health Care Act, the Republican Party’s replacement for the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare).
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons
This week, house Republicans rolled out their plan to replace the Affordable Care Act. The ACA, also known as Obamacare, has been considered a major piece of President Obama’s legacy. Obamacare has also been one of the largest targets for Republicans who have been seeking the law’s repeal since it was passed.
So, what does the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) do?
- Expands Medicaid (government sponsored healthcare for low-income people) to cover those with an income below 133% of the federal poverty line. Under the ACA, the federal government paid a percentage of each state’s Medicaid expenses.
- Provides tax credits based on income for middle-income Americans in order to help them pay for insurance.
- Requires that large companies provide their employees with health insurance.
- The individual mandate, Requires individuals to purchase insurance if they can afford it or pay a fine. This was put in place to drive down healthcare costs for older and sick people.
- Prohibits insurance companies from charging older patients more than three times more than younger patients for health insurance.
- Prohibits insurance companies from discriminating against people with pre-existing conditions.
- Allows young patients to stay on their parents’ healthcare plan until age 26.
- Requires insurance providers to cover basic preventative care. This reduces long-term costs of treating emergency medical problems.
- Prohibits lifetime limits on health insurance coverage.
- Sets up the Prevention and Public Health Fund to increase preventative healthcare measures. This reduces the number of medical emergencies or serious illnesses which are expensive to treat.
So, what does the new Republican plan, the American Healthcare Act keep from Obamacare?
- The protections for people with pre-existing conditions would remain in place if the bill passes.
- Lifetime limits on health insurance coverage would still be illegal under the new bill.
- Young people will still be able to on their parents’ healthcare plan until age 26.
- Insurance will still have to cover preventative care.
What does the GOP plan get rid of or change from the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare)?
- Medicaid expansion: The Republican plan will keep the Medicaid expansion to cover low and lower-middle income Americans until 2020. After that, federal Medicaid will only apply to people below the poverty line and federal funding will be given to states through a block grant. This means that each state will get the same amount in federal funding. The GOP plan also includes a provision that would place a limit on the amount of money that the federal government can pay per-person through Medicaid.
- Tax credits: The ACHA, the Republican health care plan, changes the tax credits in Obamacare so that the credits are based on age, not income. The tax credits would still apply to people who earn under $75,000.
- Mandates: Employers would no longer be required to provide health insurance to employees under the new GOP plan. Individuals are also not required to buy health insurance under the Republican plan.
- Age discrimination ban: Under the Republican plan, providers will be able to charge 5 times as much for elderly patients as younger patients.
- Preventative Care: The Preventative Care and Public Health Fund would be eliminated in 2019 under the Republican plan.
In addition to what is listed above, the Republican health care plan removes all federal funding for Planned Parenthood, an organization that provides abortion services in addition to other women’s health services including breast cancer and STI screenings.