Republican Health Care Replacement Bill Passes House

Posted by on May 12, 2017 in Government, Health

For the past seven years, House Republicans have been struggling to repeal the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as the ACA or “Obamacare.” After many failed attempts, they finally succeeded on Thursday when they narrowly passed a bill that will repeal and replace large chunks of the ACA.

What Does the New Plan Look Like?

The American Health Care Act (AHCA), as the new bill is called, passed by only 217 to 213 votes in the House. In general, young, healthy people will see their insurance premiums go down in cost, while older and less healthy people will have to pay more. The bill also eliminates the requirement that providers cover several essential services, such as maternity care. Federal spending for Medicaid will be cut by about $840 billion over ten years, which could lead to a loss of benefits for the 74 million Americans who rely on it.

Under the ACA, taxes from the wealthy helped subsidize the costs of paying for Medicaid and other services for the poor, elderly, and ill. But under the provisions of the new bill, the federal government will pay less for Medicaid and will return that money to the wealthy in the form of tax cuts.

The ACA made it illegal for insurance companies to deny coverage to people with preexisting conditions, such as cancer and diabetes. Under the AHCA, however, individual states will be able to opt out of this requirement. Instead, “high-risk pools” will be established to help with medical costs for Americans who fall into this category. The problem is, there isn’t nearly enough money in the high-risk pools to provide care for everyone who needs it. And the list of pre-existing conditions under the bill includes more than fifty conditions, some as common as acne or pregnancy.

According to polls, the new health care bill is far less popular than the ACA. And with good reason: some estimates show that up to 24 million Americans could lose their coverage under the new plan, especially those with pre-existing conditions.

What Happens Next?

From here, the bill moves to the Senate, where it will require 50 votes to pass. Though the Republicans hold 52 seats in the Senate, many moderate Republicans have already voiced displeasure with the bill. Still others are concerned that voting to repeal the ACA will get them into trouble with their constituents back home. And it isn’t likely that any Democrat will be willing to vote in favor of dismantling the ACA. A Senate committee is already in place to begin the process of rewriting the bill. Even Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell has said that passing it in the Senate will be a challenge. If it does manage to make it through the Senate, it is expected that President Trump will sign the new health care bill into law.

Dig Deeper Using internet resources, locate a list of all of the “pre-existing conditions” named under the AHCA. Do you yourself have any of these conditions? More than one? Do you feel that insurance companies should be allowed to make people pay more for their coverage if they have one or more of these conditions? Explain.