On Monday, House Republicans finally did what they've been saying for months they're going to do: release their plan to repeal and replace Obamacare. President Donald Trump has repeatedly called the Affordable Care Act a "disaster" and has supported the Republican effort for repeal and replace. Now, we're getting a glimpse of what that might look like. Some tenants would be upheld — like granting coverage to people with pre-existing conditions and allowing children to stay on their parents' plan until age 26 — but others will be dismantled. You may be wondering how the Obamacare replacement will affect Medicaid.
The current Republican replacement plan, dubbed the American Health Care Act, would essentially reduce Medicaid coverage by restructuring it so that states would receive a pre-determined amount of money each year and offer refundable tax credits to individuals rather than subsidies. The two-page health care replacement fact sheet from the Ways and Means Committee describes it as "per capita allotment" that would "modernize" Medicaid. According to The New York Times, the Medicaid expansion has provided coverage for more than 10 million people in 31 states.
While AHCA would allow former President Barack Obama's introduction of Medicaid-expansion programs to continue until Jan. 1, 2020, it would then freeze enrollment. According to NPR, four Senate Republicans have written to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell about an earlier draft of a replacement plan with concerns that some people who would have been covered under Obama's Medicaid expansion would not be covered by the new plan.
BREAKING: House GOP releases bill to unravel Obama health care law, trims federal role and likely reduces number of people insured.— The Associated Press (@AP) March 6, 2017
The Obamacare replacement plan would also eliminate the individual mandate for health care and tax credits based on income. Instead, the credits would be based on age and limited to certain incomes. Rather than require people to purchase health care coverage, the law would offer incentives for keeping their coverage year to year by charging more to get back onto a health plan if the coverage lapsed.
Unfortunately, the bill also includes a provision that would strip all federal funding from Planned Parenthood. In a strange offer, Trump said he would let Planned Parenthood keep their federal funding if they stop performing abortions. The organization does not use federal funding for abortions. Unsurprisingly, Planned Parenthood declined the offer.
The new health care bill still has a long way to go until it's signed into law, so there's no guarantee that this will be the finalized version. Now is a great time to call your Senator to voice your opinion of the Obamacare replacement plan and let Republican lawmakers know that the people won't stand for the cutting back of important pillars of the Affordable Care Act.