GOP Releases New Healthcare Plan to Replace the ACA
Monday evening, House Republicans, came out from behind closed doors, to release their version of a health care plan to replace the Affordable Care Act or as it is widely called, “Obamacare.” One of the first provisions the GOP would change is the use of Medicaid for those who were covered under the ACA. For instance, under the ACA, the plan covers people who are in the “median income eligibility level of 255% of poverty in 2016” in the state Medicaid plans. Under the Republicans plan, “Reverts the mandatory Medicaid income eligibility level for poverty-related children back to 100 percent of the federal poverty level.” Experts against such a change could remove 20 million people from the insurance rolls.
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One troubling feature of the Republican bill also strips away all funding to Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood serves around 2.5 million women and men in the United States annually. Funding did not cover abortion services already, but it does cover medical coverage for poor and for those who live in an area that does not have a medical facility. Removing all funding to Planned Parenthood would create a challenge for states to cover men and women for annual tests such as mammograms, pelvic exams and other service such as birth control.
The new plan also penalizes a person who goes without insurance for more than 63 days no matter the reason. When said person, even with a pre-existing condition, will “assess a flat 30 percent late-enrollment surcharge on top of their base premium based on their decision to forgo coverage.” The GOP is also proposing to curb who would qualify for tax credits to buy health insurance. The bill would in 2020 cut federal aid that has allowed 31 states to expand their Medicaid plans to millions of previously uninsured poor people. Members of the House have said they would not vote for a plan that does not include those who have been covered by insurance with the new Medicaid guidelines under the ACA.
Those who say they cannot back this new plan are Senators Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Shelley Moore Capito (R. W.Va.), Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska). Together they have written a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). They letter states that “Reform should not come at the cost of disruption in access to health care for our country’s most vulnerable and sickest people. Any changes made to how Medicaid is financed through the state and federal governments should be coupled with significant new flexibility so they can efficiently and effectively manage their Medicaid programs to best meet their own needs.”
The new Republican plan does keep two of the ACA’s guidelines. One, young adults stay on their parents’ health plans until age 26 and the new plan forbids insurers to deny coverage or charge more to people with pre-existing medical problems but they can charge those with pre-existing condition a surcharge if they go without insurance. The new plan would also require states with Medicaid expansion populations to re-determine those who have been enrolled every 6 months.