On Tuesday, the Republicans in the House revealed The American Health Care Act, their plan to repeal and replace Obamacare. Many hardcore Republicans and Democrats are not pleased with the bill, but that will not stop Trump from trying to push it through. So what is in this new health care bill, and is it a drastic change from Obamacare?
One way Trumpcare is a reversal of Obamacare is the repealing of the individual and employer mandates. Under Obamacare, if individuals or employers did not have insurance they would be charged a tax penalty. Now under Trumpcare if one does not have insurance there will be no tax penalty, but if one goes to get insurance after having a medical problem, he will be charged a 30% surcharge. This in effects will still force most people to buy insurance.
Under Trumpcare, to help the low- and mid-income Americas afford health insurance, tax credits of $2,000 for the young, $4,000 for the old, and even up to $14,000 for families will be put in place. Many conservatives are worried that these tax credits will have the possibility of creating a whole new entitlement program and people will begin to rely on the Federal Government to pay for their health insurance.
One thing the supporters of Obamacare like to tout is that it provided coverage for individuals with pre-existing conditions. Under Trumpcare the pre-existing condition mandates are still left in place, but it is not clear yet how this will exactly work under Trumpcare. The 30% surcharge on individuals getting insurance after a medical emergency is one way that has been floated for funding the pre-existing condition mandate.
One way Trumpcare keeps part of Obamacare deals with the so-called “Cadillac” tax. This is a 40% tax on lavish health insurance that will be delayed from 2020 to 2025, but the fact that it won’t be repealed will not help soaring premiums. Another way Trumpcare has an uncanny resemblance to Obamacare is in regard to Medicaid expansion. This program will remain in place until 2020, and it will further strain a budget-breaking program that is riddled with problems.
A problem that was quickly realized with Trumpcare was a massive loophole that would allow thousands of illegal immigrants to get Trumpcare. Trumpcare will have weaker verification language for screening illegal immigrants than Obamacare does. ObamaCare allowed officials to check an immigrant’s status against Social Security numbers. Trumpcare will not require that because of the reconciliations process being used to ram through the bill, and this will create a massive loophole for illegal immigrants to obtain Trumpcare, thus adding even more to the national debt.
A question that many are asking is, Will Trumpcare be able to be passed, and if so, will the changes from it be good? The chances of Trumpcare passing have yet to be seen as it will have many hurdles to overcome in the House and the Senate. If Paul Ryan is not able to get a few Democrats to cross over the aisle to vote for Trumpcare, its chances of passing could be slim. There is much fear that premiums will go up under Trumpcare which will have an adverse effect on low-income Americans and seniors.
While Trumpcare repeals parts of Obamacare, I believe that the only way for insurance to become truly affordable in America again is for the Federal Government to get its hands out of it. When the free market is able to work properly without government intervention, prices will become cheaper, the service will become better, and the choices will be more numerous. But until the government deregulates the healthcare market any healthcare reform efforts will ultimately fail.