The negotiations have begun.
The Republicans in the US House of Representatives have released their plan to repeal and replace Obamacare.
Part of a statement by House Republicans read, “With today’s legislation, we return power back to the states – strengthening Medicaid and prioritizing our nation’s most vulnerable. We provide the American people with what they’ve asked for: greater choice, lower cost, and flexibility to choose the plan that best suits their needs.”
Courtesy of Axios, here are some key points of the proposed bill:
What’s in the bill:
- Pre-existing condition coverage remains
- States get a fund to set up high risk polls to help lower-income patients or fix insurance markets
- Medicaid expansion is frozen
- Those already enrolled can stay on the plan until 2020
- In 2020, Medicaid will change to “per capita caps,” limiting funding for enrollees
- In 2020, there will be a refundable tax credit to help individuals get insurance
- Tax credit is phased out for individuals starting at $75K and up, and $150K for families
- Older individuals can be charged up to five times as much as young adults
What’s out of the bill:
- All Obamacare taxes are out
- All Obamacare subsidies are out
- Penalties for individuals and employers are out
- The “Cadillac Tax” on more expensive health coverage is cancelled until 2025
- No limits on tax break for employer-sponsored healthcare coverage
- No selling insurance across state lines
- No medical malpractice reform
Tax Credit is key component of Republican Healthcare Plan
The key aspect of the Republican plan is the tax credit to help individuals afford insurance. The tax credit ranges from $2,000 to $4,000 yearly, and will go up with age. It is believed the tax credit system could mean less support for low-income and older Americans, while giving more support to younger and more well-off Americans.
The system will mean fewer people will be covered, something the Republicans admit. They say that will be offset somewhat by removing the mandates that forced people to get insurance – and then fined them if they did not.
This bill won’t pass in its current form
The plan introduced by Republicans is not what the final “TrumpCare” plan will look like. Already, four Republican Senators had criticized an earlier bill that did not protect the (popular) Medicaid expansion brought in by ObamaCare. Considering that the bill proposed by House Republicans does not protect that expansion, it is a near certainty that the bill will need changes.
Republicans are divided on how to replace ObamaCare, meaning this bill is the start of a negotiation. Republicans on the right of their party object to the tax credit (calling it an “entitlement”), while Republicans in moderate states are worried about their residents losing their healthcare coverage. Of note, Ohio Senator Rob Portman is likely to oppose the bill over the Medicaid issue. As he represents a centrist state, it is highly unlikely anything can pass if he doesn’t agree with it.
Democrats rip ObamaCare replacement
Unsurprisingly, the Democrats are not happy about the proposed bill. Here is what Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said about the plan:
“Trumpcare doesn’t replace the Affordable Care Act, it forces millions of Americans to pay more for less care. This plan would cut and cap Medicaid, defund Planned Parenthood, and force Americans, particularly older Americans, to pay more out of pocket for their medical care all so insurance companies can pad their bottom line.”
Long road ahead for TrumpCare
With Republicans divided and Democrats planning to oppose whatever replacement is put forward, there will be a very messy process ahead. If a replacement bill does pass, it will look very different from what has just been proposed.
Donald Trump is about to put his negotiating skills to the test.
Tweets about TrumpCare:
— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) March 6, 2017
— President Trump (@POTUS) March 7, 2017
Trumpcare doesn’t replace the Affordable Care Act – it forces millions of Americans to pay more for less care.
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) March 7, 2017
WATCH: House Republicans discuss ObamaCare replacement
Photo – Twitter