Almost seven years after President Obama’s Affordable Care Act (ACA) was signed and passed, the Republican party aims to finally repeal and replace the plan with the American Health Care Act.
With a vote scheduled in the House of Representatives Thursday, the party hopes to abolish some of the precedents put forth by the ACA including changes to requiring everyone to have health insurance, making sure employers provide affordable insurance to their employees and allowing the federal government to provide tax credits for people who cannot afford to pay for their deductibles and copayments.
The new plan would also change the way that Medicaid operates, allowing the states to have more control and cutting off federal funding to Planned Parenthood clinics through Medicaid and other government-funded programs for one year.
The bill has caused a divide among not just Democrats and Republicans, but within their own parties as well.
On Monday, The New York Times reported that four Republican senators, including Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, signed a letter saying that the House draft they had reviewed did not protect the people of their states and provide them the expanded Medicaid coverage that they need.
The cost of the updated plan has not been revealed, but the bill has a major backer: President Donald Trump, who has always been very vocal on his opposition of the ACA.
On March 7 of this year, President Trump tweeted, “Our wonderful new Healthcare Bill is now out for review and negotiation. Obamacare is a complete and total disaster- is imploding fast!”
The bill, however, is not a complete gut of the properties of the Affordable Care Act.
Several provisions are only being changed. People will be allowed to deduct more health care expenses from their taxes, as opposed to the sliding scale of tax credits provided under the ACA and removes the restriction on charging older Americans more for insurance, the prices rising from three to five times more under the proposed replacement.
There are also a few policies that will remain untouched under the American Health Care Act. Dependent coverage up until the age of 26, requiring companies to provide coverage to Americans despite their pre-existing conditions, allowing 10 “essential” health benefits (like maternity care) and prohibiting the insurance companies from setting a limit on how much they can pay to cover someone during their lifetime are safe from removal.
The revised plan, if passed, is set to begin in January 2020.