Sarah Kate Purnell
After months of planning to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA), known colloquially as Obamacare, President Trump and GOP leaders determined plans for the proposed American Health Care Act (AHCA). Though the initial vote, scheduled for March 24, has been delayed, the AHCA remains the main indicator of how the GOP foresees American health care.
The AHCA has similar qualifications to the ACA, such that insurers would still be required to accept individuals with pre-existing conditions. Additionally, the AHCA would continue to provide subsidies for people in order to purchase individual insurance.
“The bill spends less on fewer subsidies, reduces Medicaid spending by large amounts, and uses the savings to eliminate taxes on wealthier Americans and medical companies imposed by the ACA.” Benjy Sarlin at NBC News reported. “It would reduce the deficit by $337 billion over the next 10 years, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.”
According to Sarlin at NBC News, the AHCA would adjust the subsidies that the ACA currently has in place. For instance, individuals would receive a maximum $4,000 credit that is based upon their age. If premiums are still too high once receiving the credit, the individual is stuck.
With North Carolina having some of the highest health insurance rates in the country, the changing premium tax credits will have a huge impact.
“An analysis by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities showed that North Carolinians were likely to lose, on average, $5,360 in premium tax credits per year, the second highest loss of premium tax credits in the country.” Pam Silberman and Rebecca Silfkin of the News&Observer explained.
Medicaid expansion would be discontinued and the federal government would only have to pay states a certain amount per person.
The CBO estimates that 24 million Americans would be left without insurance by 2026.
“I think what the House has given us is Obamacare-lite. It keeps all of the Obamacare taxes for about a year; it keeps the Cadillac tax forever. It keeps the Obamacare subsidies but it renames them refundable tax credits,” Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., told CBN News’s “Brody and Browder.”
The evening of March 23, GOP leaders and President Trump demanded a vote be taken on the health care bill the following day.
According to Time, House Speaker Paul Ryan told reporters outside the Thursday meeting that the GOP has been promising to repeal and replace of the ACA to the American people for seven and a half years, and that on the 24th that would finally be able to take place.
“It’s done tomorrow. Or ‘Obamacare’ stays,” Rep. Chris Collins, R-N.Y., a top Trump ally in the House stated according to Time.
On Friday, House Speaker Paul Ryan pulled the bill from the floor, just before the long-anticipated vote.
President Trump claimed the bill had zero backing from Democrats, but that the call was close.
“ObamaCare will explode and we will all get together and piece together a great healthcare plan for THE PEOPLE. Do not worry!” Trump tweeted the following morning.