Yesterday, after years of expectation, House Republicans released their proposal to repeal the Affordable Care Act, commonly referred to as Obamacare.
In a written statement full of falsehoods, the House GOP said:
What we’re proposing will deliver the control and choice individuals and families need to access healthcare that’s right for them.
The statement mentioned that it would embody “President Trump’s proposed healthcare reforms.” The problem with that sentence is that Trump has never put forward any healthcare proposals. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) said the proposal would “drive down costs, encourage competition and give every American access to quality, affordable heath insurance.” But it won’t.
The Republicans are telling outright lies as the measure would destroy any possibility of millions of Americans having affordable access to the kind of healthcare provided by Obamacare. So much so, that the Congressional Budget Office issued an official warning about the proposal, saying it would lead to loss of insurance or higher coverage cost for millions of Americans.
Journalists, commentators, and legal organizations will no doubt be analyzing the contents of the proposal in detail over the coming days, but here is a brief summary of some of the proposed measures:
Defunding Planned Parenthood
Republicans want to ensure that no federal funding can be given, directly or indirectly, by Medicaid to health care organizations that “provide for abortions”, other than in cases of rape, incest or to save the life of the mother. This is a direct attack on Planned Parenthood, which doesn’t use federal funds to pay for abortions because that is already against the law. This measure will kill all funding for the organization simply because it uses other funds to pay for abortions. This is an ideological attack on an organization that provides vital care and support to women across America.
Shut Down Private Health Cover For Abortions
The measure prevents any federal tax subsidies for health insurance plans that include abortion, even if the customer doesn’t get an abortion while on the plan. This will significantly reduce Americans’ access to abortions covered by insurance or would lead to insurers dropping abortion from their plans. Probably both. Customers are still able to get abortions on their health plans, but they can’t use federal tax subsidies for it, and insurers are likely to try and dissuade people from such plans with massive premiums.
Repeal Penalties For Those Without Health Insurance
The measure would also get rid of the penalties for not having health insurance. This will certainly affect the insurance market in a bad way, as healthy individuals get rid of their insurance plans, meaning those who are sick will have to pay more. The bill will also remove penalties for businesses that don’t provide healthcare coverage to their employees.
Income-Based Subsidies Replaced By Age-Based Subsidies
This is perhaps the one measure that will affect working class families the most. Obamacare gave assistance for insurance based on income, which worked well for everyone as richer households paid more, as is fair. But now those subsidies will be given out based on age, meaning older people will receive more. Subsidies will be limited to $4,000 per person, and no family will receive more than $14,000 in subsidies. In addition, no more than five family members can be eligible at any one time. Not only does this punish young families, who are often in need of healthcare, but it also punishes larger families.
To “balance out” this change, Republicans intend to let insurers charge more to older customers while dropping costs for younger customers, At the moment, insurers can’t charge their older customers more than three times what they charge younger customers, but Republicans want to increase that to a five-to-one ratio.
The fact that Republicans are removing the ability to get abortions on health insurance, and then not providing adequate federal support to the subsequently large families is absolutely mindboggling. They then want to mitigate this by allowing insurers to rip off old people.
Medicaid Expansion Repealed
As of December 31st, 2019, the Medicaid expansion will be repealed, meaning that less federal funds will go to states for medical aid. The poorest and sickest in America will be on their own as states receive fewer funds to help them.
All Obamacare Taxes Repealed
As expected, the taxes that were established to fund Obamacare will be removed, allowing the rich to get even richer and avoid paying their fair share back to society. Under Obamacare, higher income taxpayers paid more into the system, but now they won’t have to pay anything at all. This is a huge tax cut amounting to at least $346 billion over the next ten years. This tax repeal will make any funding of a future Obamacare replacement impossible, as was most likely the intention by those who wrote the legislation.
There are a few positives in this proposal, mostly due to voter backlash. Children will be allowed to stay on their parents’ insurance plans until they’re 26 years old. It will also remain illegal for insurance companies to discriminate against customers with pre-existing conditions. But the negatives far outweigh these concessions.
The proposal put forward targets the usual victims of Republican animosity: pregnant women, poor people, and young families. It also benefits the demographic the Republicans serve the most: rich people and big businesses. This evil attempt to deny working Americans their right to affordable healthcare is a cynical attempt to destroy President Obama’s legacy while giving tax cuts to their rich donors. In true Republican style, it is self-serving, nasty, vengeful and not good for the lifeblood of America.
Two House Committees plan to vote on the proposal on Wednesday, which will be a significant test for this piece of legislation as it will be the first time many politicians on both sides of the House will have seen it. Get in contact with your local representative and tell them to vote against this disgusting bill!