There’s a lot going on in Washington, D.C., right now. (House of Cards IRL?)
Since his first day in the Oval Office, President Trump has hoped to get a new healthcare bill passed. It’s now six months later, and the American Health Care Act has yet to officially replace the Affordable Care Act (i.e., Obamacare.)
Why the delay?
The short answer? It’s complicated.
The long answer? It’s complicated. So, let’s get into it.
First off, what is the AHCA?
The American Health Care Act is a Republican bill passed by the House that aims to replace the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. Obamacare). If you’re currently getting your insurance through the healthcare marketplace, you’re one of the roughly 6 million Americans with an Obamacare plan.
The AHCA is still just a bill. It has yet to be passed by the Senate…which is the next step that needs to happen in order for the AHCA to become law. The Senate hopes to vote on its version of a healthcare reform bill later this summer.
So, what’s in it?
We can’t lay out everything that’s happened with the house bill here (you’d scroll for miles), but here are some of the main provisions that have people talking:
- The AHCA would roll back Medicaid expansion. States would have the option of taking federal money as a lump sum, called “block grants,” to fund the program with fewer federal requirements. (Basically, states would be in charge of how Medicaid money is spent.)
- The individual mandate (i.e., the fee you pay for not having health coverage) would go away. But, if you decide that you want healthcare after the enrollment deadline or experience a gap in coverage, the bill allows insurers to charge you a 30 percent higher premium.
- States would be able to opt out of certain Obamacare provisions, such as insurers being required to cover specific health benefits (such as maternity care).
- As under Obamacare, children under 26 would still be able to stay on their parents’ healthcare plans under the AHCA.
- The AHCA would also continue to make it illegal for an insurer to charge a person a higher premium for a preexisting condition.
Okay, then why the hold up?
Healthcare is complicated and changing the system isn’t easy. The White House and Congress are struggling to agree on a new way forward. While the House did pass the AHCA, it took them a few tries, and the Senate is in no hurry to vote on a bill they haven’t fully gotten on board with.
The clock is ticking, though, and it won’t be long before the AHCA takes center stage…or it doesn’t. (In order for the bill to pass this year, the Senate will likely have to close a deal by their July Fourth recess.)
Whatever the outcome, we’ll be here to keep you in the loop, so stay tuned.
No matter your political party, healthcare costs affect YOU. Affordable healthcare for everyone is a tough code to crack, but one way to reduce healthcare costs in North Carolina is to roll back state-based mandates that drive up costs for Republicans and Democrats (and everyone in between.) Think so too? Join us.