The New American Healthcare Act: Will It Bring Down Costs?
There are three things that are important to know about the new healthcare proposal known as The American Healthcare Act of 2017 (AHCA). First, it does not repeal Obamacare; second, it doubles down on one of the most expensive parts of the healthcare system by subsidizing the health insurance industry; and third, it does not replace Obamacare. In fact, if it is left in its current state it will eventually lead to single-payer.
The centerpiece of the bill allows states to opt-out of essential healthcare benefits such as the requirement for mental health care and maternity care. It also allows them to opt-out of the requirement that premiums be the same for people of the same age. However, there is nothing in the legislation that will lower the cost of health insurance or put pressure on the insurance companies to lower premiums and out of pocket costs. On the contrary, it makes them the most powerful player in the healthcare system able to drive costs with risk shifted to the taxpayer due to government subsidies for people with low-income and those with pre-existing conditions.
Legislators still don’t realize that having health insurance does not equal access to quality affordable healthcare. Instead of getting input from the two parties who are the most affected, the voices of doctors and patients have been silenced like The Affordable Care Act before it. How else can you explain the fact that insurance companies are given the ability to levy a 30% surcharge for one year on patients who have not had health insurance coverage for over 63 days whether or not they have a pre-existing condition. In the real world it would be called a bail out for insurance companies at the expense of patients.
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