The AHCA’s Newer Younger Brother: What You Should Know

Even after a hundred days into the Trump presidency, the administration is still managing to create mountains of headlines that can overwhelm the average person.

It is understandable that an individual may be lost given all the recent headlines from Syria, to Korea, to the budget, to the Russian investigation, and now to healthcare. Some of you may be asking yourselves “Wasn’t the healthcare thing dealt with a few weeks ago?” The answer is yes. The previous healthcare bill which would have cut insurance protection for millions of individuals was killed before a vote earlier in the year. However, Republicans have managed to draft and create a new bill which passed the House on May 4, 2017. However, it’s important to remember that this bill doesn’t completely repeal Obamacare just yet. In fact, the bill hasn’t even been implemented because it still needs to pass the Senate.

The most notable differences between the two bills would be the amount of funding allocated to each plan. Republicans are pushing forward the AHCA with the promise that it will be the solution to America’s healthcare but they’ve yet to allocate any funding which would justify that statement. Their plan involves radically rolling back the Medicare taxes which were put into place to pay for Obamacare. According to the CBO, this lack of funding will explode our deficit at the same time as doubling the number of uninsured Americans from 28 million to 52 million. This is essentially the equivalent of trying to stop a house fire by handing someone a water bottle and then turning off the water pressure to the hydrant right outside the house.

 Another one of the issues with the AHCA is the fact that it ends the “mandates.” Under Obamacare, individuals were required to have insurance and employers of a certain size were required to provide it. Now Republicans have stated that they did away with these to increase people’s freedom but in reality, the only thing this does is hurt poor people while at the same time not protecting anyone’s freedom. The mandates were in place to ensure that people weren’t caught in a scenario where they were forced to pay thousands of dollars they didn’t have for treatment. At the same time, if one really couldn’t afford insurance, the mandates had exemptions. Without the mandates, proponents of the AHCA are essentially saying you have to get yourself insurance, and we don’t care enough to provide avenues for you to get that insurance. At the same time, they are also penalizing everyone who doesn’t have insurance by allowing companies to charge them more. In essence, they’ve gotten rid of all our protections and healthcare while at the same time promoting a fake sense of “freedom” because if people can’t make it in their system, they’ll give companies a free pass to screw them over.

Another element of importance in the AHCA is the pre-existing condition portion of the bill. The previous version of the AHCA didn’t provide protections for people with pre-existing conditions, and it was eventually this hole which led to the bill’s demise. The new AHCA does provide protection for pre-existing conditions, while adding 8 billion dollars in funding, except that it does so by giving the states the ability to cancel insurers the ability to charge higher-risk people higher rates.

The AHCA is a monster of a bill which strips consumer protections to be practically non-existent while at the same time doing nothing to address the problem. There is of course a lot more about the bill which should be explored at great length, making one wonder whether the bill will really help America or will be a step backward for us all.

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