Last week the Republican Party rolled out a new plan for government healthcare in hopes to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also branded “Obamacare.” But, their plans were not well put together and seemed to have little substance. There are some important aspects of this new plan that could have major impacts on marginalized groups, namely women, other people of color, working class people, young people, the elderly, and anyone else who isn’t in Trump core constituency.
Here are 3 things you need to know about the American Health Care Act (the AHCA) and how it could affect the most vulnerable Americans.
1. The AHCA phases out Medicaid expansion provided under the ACA.
In a move to spend fewer government funds on medical care for the most vulnerable, the AHCA plans to cap Medicaid matching, purging 4 to 6 million people from eligibility. This means the 11 million people who became eligible for health insurance under the ACA may no longer be eligible for coverage, so long as states are able to individually dictate who is and is not eligible for Medicaid. Under the ACA the federal government fully funded Medicaid with the intention to drop off at 90% of coverage in 2020.
“Trumpcare,” however, will end Medicaid expansion in 2020, and people who were not previously eligible for Medicaid (those with incomes less than 138% of the poverty line) will once again, be left without affordable health insurance.
RELATED: Congressional Republicans Seek to Dismantle Obamacare, No Replacement in Sight
2. Wealthier people benefit.
The AHCA benefits wealthier people because it provides flat tax credits as incentives to getting coverage–the ACA provides higher credits for people with lower incomes and none for those at the highest income brackets. Those low-income Americans who depend on tax credits and subsidies to afford their care will lose some of the benefits they’ve gained under the ACA, making health care coverage cheaper for the government, but less generous for those at the bottom.
In addition, the AHCA allows people to contribute more to a tax free health savings account, where previously the cap was $3,400 for an individual and $6750 for a family. The AHCA allows an individual to save $6,550 tax free and a family $13,100 tax free. This is a great addition…if a person or family has money to save in the first place.
3. More Freedom for the Insurance Companies
The AHCA does not repeal some of the very popular aspects of the ACA, where children are able to stay on their parents insurance until they are 26, or where insurance companies are not able to charge more or refuse coverage for people with pre-existing conditions. However, the bill does allow insurance companies to charge, according to the New York Times, older customers up to five times as much as younger ones.