After week and weeks of controversy, and years of Republican members of Congress voting to repeal the Affordable Care Act literally dozens of times, the American public finally got its first glimpse of what the GOP's replacement bill looks like. And so far, it isn't exactly drawing rave reviews ― it's simultaneously being panned by the conservative and libertarian right as a sort of "Obamacare-lite" while being lambasted by progressives for stripping vital facets of coverage. For example: Here are 9 crucial areas of health care that Trumpcare forgot about.
Actually, to be precise, these aren't areas of health care coverage that the new Republican replacement bill simply forgets about. To the contrary, these are facets of the existing ACA (also popularly known as Obamacare) that Republicans are deliberately stripping, making it that much tougher for low-income Americans to get the coverage they need ― unless there are more revisions and reforms on the way, but you probably shouldn't hold your breath.
If you're looking for some examples of things that won't automatically be included in your health insurance plan if the Republican repeal-and-replace efforts succeed, here are nine such examples. The vast majority of them stem from a simple amendment which phases out the ACA's "essential health benefits" requirements at the end of 2019, and Emily C. Singer of Mic put a spotlight on the relevant provision the day after the bill was released
1. Maternity & Newborn Care
As it stands now, the ACA ensures that any health insurance plan includes coverage for potential maternity leave and care for newborn babies. But thanks to the GOP bill's section on "Sunset Of Essential Health Benefits Requirement," which undoes the carved-out, mandatory areas insurers must cover at the start of 2020, that might not be the case for long.
2. Pediatric Services
It's not just newborns, either. The GOP bill's stripping of the ACA's essential health benefits requirements could also mean health insurers won't have to cover pediatric services anymore ― health care for children and teens, basically.
3. Mental Health & Substance Use Services
Mental health services and treatment for people in the throes of substance abuse could also no longer be a mandatory benefit of health care coverage if the GOP's replacement bill passes. Again, this wouldn't take effect immediately ― it'd be offloaded until the start of 2020.
4. Prescription Drug Coverage
If you benefit from the rule placed on health insurers to cover prescription drugs in their plans, then the GOP's replacement bill could put a dent in your wallet, or worse, cost you the drugs you need ― it similarly strips the requirement for such coverage.
5. Ambulatory Patient Services
Ambulatory services ― which is to say, outpatient medical services ― will also no longer be a matter of mandatory coverage, if the GOP's bill goes through as currently written.
6. Hospitalization Services
Thanks to the GOP bill's sunset provision on essential benefits, which amends the ACA's requirements to add "this paragraph shall not apply after December 31, 2019" at the end, coverage for hospitalization services will also no longer be assured.
7. Chronic Disease Management
If you suffer from a chronic disease, the GOP's replacement bill could eventually force you to seek out specific, extra coverage for your unique condition, something that will prove both more tiring and more costly for the individual consumer.
8. Medical Rehabilitation Services
If you require rehabilitation ― like, say, re-training your body after a major accident, or in the aftermath of an invasive surgery procedure ― the GOP bill would leave you unable to be assured that your plan will cover it.
9. Abortion Services
This part isn't related to the amendment of the ACA's essential benefits requirement, but it's a major change all the same. The GOP's new replacement bill both defunds Planned Parenthood, and prohibits people from receiving any subsidy for a plan that covers abortion. Individuals will have to seek out extra coverage on their own, in the face of reduced access ― the Republicans are not subtle about curtailing access at every turn ― and there's the possibility that private insurers will simply stop providing such coverage. Simply put, if you're a believer in women's reproductive freedom, this bill is an out and out nightmare.
So, there you have it. These areas listed above represent just a sliver of the various ways the Republican health care bill would change existing health care law ― a law which, it must be said, is more popular with the public recently than ever before. And with opposition brewing on the right and out in full force on the left, there's no guarantee this ever gets through. That said, however, if you're concerned about any of the above, you might want to call your member of Congress and let them know.