For anyone who knows me, you know that healthcare is important to me. With everything that has happened this week, I thought that it would be a great idea to combine my two passions, health and writing, in order to bring some light to this very important issue. To be clear, this is not a post aimed at criticizing the Trump Administration. Rather – this is my attempt to cohesively bring together as much information as I can about what is happening with healthcare in the United States. So let’s start with the obvious, the Affordable Care Act.
Affordable Care Act (Obamacare)
Implemented in 2010, the ACA requires that Americans enroll in health insurance enforced by an individual mandate that taxes citizens either 2.5% of their household income or $695 a year. There are exemptions to this mandate.
In addition, the ACA expanded Medicaid and Medicare, which many states have refused, to 138% of the federal poverty level. The ACA also awards refundable tax credits for those of low or moderate income in order to afford health insurance through the Marketplace.
Insurers must provide maternity care, pediatric care, and contraception. Abortion is not provided for with federal money, but Planned Parenthood receives money for family planning.
Those who make over $250,000 a year, insurance companies, and companies who make medical devices are taxed more.
In 2017 during the Open Enrollment Period (November 1, 2016 – January 31, 2017), about 12.2 million people were either automatically re-enrolled or selected a plan in the Marketplace. About 3 million – 25%, enrolled into state based marketplaces, while the rest from Healthcare.gov
Better Care Reconciliation Act – GOP Replacement Plan
The proposed plan would get rid of the individual mandate, yet allow for annual enrollment periods in the healthcare marketplace. The plan will minimize cost sharing subsidies for individuals, which will help make plans less expensive, but would also raise premiums for the elderly and for lower-income individuals.
The plan will reduce Medicaid spending by setting a specific amount that each state can spend every year. The plan will also cut funding for Medicaid to fund for Planned Parenthood for a year. States could also apply for waivers in order to to drop coverage for contraceptives and maternity care.
Guaranteed coverage, or the ability to receive coverage while being sick or having a pre-existing condition, would be scaled back to a degree, and could allow states to reduce the number of conditions insurers are required to cover.
Those who make over $250,000 a year, insurance companies, and companies who make medical devices would receive a considerable tax cut.
The Senate version of this bill would cut the federal deficit by approximately $321 billion by the year 2026, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
There is A LOT more to each plan than what is listed above, but these are the main topics that are being argued in the government and are of main concern to many Americans. If you would like more information, please check out the hyperlinks.
So Now What?
If you’re following the news at all, you know that this week there have been some very important votes in the Senate about the future of healthcare. Below is a summary of what the votes have been for, and what they might mean for the future.
Tuesday, July 25th: The Senate voted to advance the debate on a new healthcare policy. A couple of hours later, the Senate voted against repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act.
Wednesday, July 26th: The Senate voted against repealing the Affordable Care Act without a replacement. Otherwise known as the “Straight Repeal” the repeal and delay bill was shot down by 7 GOP Senators.
Thursday, July 27th: The Vote-a-Rama began, which allowed Senators to vote on an unlimited number of amendments on healthcare. This ultimately led to a vote on the “Skinny Repeal,” which would get rid of the individual and employment mandates, eliminate the funding to Planned Parenthood, and would have possibly increased premiums and leave many uninsured. The amendment also did not address Medicaid cuts. This amendment did not pass by a 51-49 vote.
Featured Picture by: Ad Meskens