No matter what side of the political divide you’re on, you have to pay attention to the newly released bill for Affordable Care Act replacement, The American Health Care Act, proposed by House Republicans. As Care3 focuses on reducing health disparities in underserved populations (people of color, the poor, seniors, disabled and rural), we reviewed the proposal through the lens of how these groups would be affected.
Here are some quick insights from a bill that will certainly be amended in the future, but has the skeleton of the approach towards underserved populations:
As the key program that serves the poor and disabled, Medicaid helps 70 million American receive healthcare. 20 million of those subscribers were added as a result of the ACA, also known as Obamacare. Under the AHCA, the Medicaid expansion and all federal funds used to subsidize the program at the state level would be repealed. A fixed grant program would be put in place to determine how much federal aid each state would receive from the government. Here’s what CNN had to say about this change:
…the Republican bill would go beyond just eliminating Medicaid expansion. It would overhaul the whole program, which covers more than 70 million people, by sending states a fixed amount of money per enrollee, known as a per-capita cap. This would limit federal responsibility, shifting that burden to the states. However, since states don’t have the money to make up the difference, they would likely either reduce eligibility, curtail benefits or cut provider payments.
This means lower enrollment and less coverage for the most vulnerable. How does this fix our healthcare system?
Seniors would also be adversely affected if this bill became the law of the land. Again, from CNN:
…adults ages 60 to 64 would see their annual premiums soar 22%, or nearly $3,200, to nearly $18,000, according to a study by the Milliman actuarial firm on behalf of the AARP Public Policy Institute. Those in their 50s would be hit with a 13% increase, or just over $1,500, and pay an annual premium of $12,800.
How can we take care of our aging parents if a greater amount of the financial burden is shifted onto them? If they can’t pay for healthcare, that financial burden shifts onto the family caregivers to cover. If you’re already struggling to make ends meet, an increase in healthcare costs can be devastating.
Please learn as much as you can about the impact of the AHCA and what it could mean for you and your loved ones. Silence is not an option. Let your voice be heard by contacting your local representative and your state senators.