Inform – Updated May 2017
On May 4, 2017, the House narrowly approved (217-213) legislation to repeal and replace major parts of the Affordable Care Act. Twenty Republicans joined Democrats in voting no.
The House bill would eliminate tax penalties for people who go without health insurance. It would roll back state-by-state expansions of Medicaid, which covered millions of low-income Americans. And in place of government-subsidized insurance policies offered exclusively on the Affordable Care Act’s marketplaces, the bill would offer tax credits of $2,000 to $4,000 a year, depending on age.
The first version of this bill would trim the federal deficit considerably, but would also leave 24 million more Americans without health insurance after a decade, (Congressional Budget Office). Average insurance premiums would be 15 percent to 20 percent higher in 2018 and 2019, but after that, they would be lower than projected under current law. The Republicans did not wait for the Congressional Budget Office to analyze this version of the bill. I will post their analysis when published.
This legislation allows states to set the terms for insurers when it comes to people with pre-existing conditions, including charging them more. People could be charged based on their health status if they experienced a gap in coverage. States could also seek waivers from requirements that insurers cover 10 essential health benefits including maternity, mental health and prescription drugs and that they charge their oldest customers no more than three times more than their youngest ones.
This is a side by side comparison of how the proposed Republican “American Health Care Act” compares to the 2010 Affordable Care Act.
The GOP Health Bill is Still Far From Law.
“ If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles.” Sun Tzu, (6th Century BCE)
Who are members of the Freedom Caucus and Tea Party?
They are conservative Republican legislators who were furious over the 2009 stimulus bill that contained more than $800 billion in tax relief and spending to help the economy recover from the recession.They also disliked the auto industry bailouts and financial sector rescue. Today, these blocks of legislators are committed to cutting taxes (for the wealthy), and shrinking government to lower the federal deficit. More importantly, their focus is to severely cut back government programs that guarantee certain benefits to a particular group or segment of the population, known as entitlement programs. We know them as Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security.
Not only did these conservative Republicans influence the original language of the Republicans “American Health Care Act”, they were responsible for the final highlighted revisions added in the eleventh hour. Even then, the proposed American Health Care Act was neither conservative nor radical enough for the likes of the Koch Brothers, along with Heritage Action, and Club For Growth.
What’s another conservative point of view?
Jennifer Rubin, conservative blogger for the Washington Post’s Right Turn, offers a different perspective on Obamacare. “For more than seven years Republicans have told themselves the public hates Obamacare because it “limits freedom” or because it contains too many taxes (the lion’s share applicable only to the very rich). In fact, what upsets people is Obamacare’s failure to make good on its promise to lower premiums and deductibles. Polls consistently showed that the percentage of those who liked Obamacare or wanted it to be more generous dwarfed the percentage of those who wanted to scrap it.”
Defunding Planned Parenthood
The proposed American Health Care Act had a provision that wouldn’t allow states to use “direct spending” on “prohibited entities” with federal funds. This would have meant blocking the 60% of Planned Parenthood patients who rely upon Medicaid and Title X, the nation’s family planning program. Planned Parenthood is this nation’s leading reproductive health care provider. Its health centers provide health care to 2.5 million people in rural and medically underserved areas with health professional shortages. Extreme politicians led by Vice President Mike Pence and Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price have supported legislation to “defund” Planned Parenthood for years. In 2015 Congress attempted to do so by attaching it to a budget reconciliation measure, only to be stopped by then President Obama.
As the first attempt to repeal The Affordable Care Act failed, the Republicans continued their assault on March 30, 2017. “With a rare tie-breaking vote from Vice President Mike Pence, the Senate on Thursday sent a bill to President Donald Trump’s desk giving states permission to withhold federal family planning funds from Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers.”.
The History of The Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare
Democrats, activists, advocates, and intellectuals have worked toward creating a universal health care system since Franklin Roosevelt was in the White House. When President Obama was elected, he borrowed their work for his own plan. Then Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus “ convened meetings with virtually every health care stakeholder, from hospitals to unions to insurers to patient advocacy groups, exchanging ideas and negotiating over principles. It meant that when the actual legislating started, the channels of communication were already open and the groundwork for a common vision was already in place. And still it was a nearly impossible task.”
How The Affordable Care Act can be improved.
One year ago President Obama put forth eight ideas and proposals for constructive changes to Obamacare.
Another voice, Kimberly Amadeo, President of World Money Watch and author of The Ultimate Obamacare Handbook, weighs in with “11 problems with the most comprehensive piece of legislation since the Social Security Act and Medicare.”
Respond & React
The repeal of the Affordable Care Act is back on the agenda. It will just be a matter of time when another bill will evolve.
Families USA is a nonprofit, nonpartisan consumer health advocacy group.
Planned Parenthood delivers vital reproductive health care, sex education, and information to millions of women, men, and young people.
- Hold your Representative accountable
Your engaged, passionate response through rallies, town halls, calls, and contact made a difference. Use the prior Members of Congress post, and be ready to begin all actions once a new bill is introduced that attempts to repeal The Affordable Care Act.
The Kaiser Family Foundation, a non-partisan non-profit organization that focuses on national health issues, helped to provide an accurate analysis of the American Health Care Act. Be sure to use them as a resource once the next bill is released.
Act Now is the action arm of Families USA , and includes scripts, petitions, and more when contacting your legislator.
I Stand With Planned Parenthood is the advocacy and action arm of Planned Parenthood. It coordinates actions, legislator contact, marches, and more.
- Join or organize a group. Participate in a march.
Organizing For Action is a nonprofit organization that advocates for the agenda of former U.S. President Barack Obama. The organization is officially non-partisan, but its agenda and policies are strongly allied with the Democratic Party. The site provides resources, tools, specific actions and events.
Resistance Near Me is a site offered by the Center for American Progress Action Fund, a progressive public policy and advocacy organization. This site was created for you to find any public event, rally, town hall, protest, and more, in your state, as well as the information you need to contact your member of congress.
It took me quite a long time to develop a voice, and now that I have it, I am not going to be silent. Madeline Albright
Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all the darkness. Desmond Tutu