January 18, 2021

GOP Obamacare Replacement

During his presidential campaign, Donald Trump promised to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. He and others have pointed out the many problems associated with Obamacare.

Millions of Americans have seen their premiums skyrocket and their coverage decrease meaning they are paying more for less. A growing number of doctors left their private practices, either joining a larger medical group or finding a whole new profession because under Obamacare, they earn less and have more rules and restrictions and paperwork. A number of hospitals have stopped accepting patients on Obama’s expanded Medicaid because they are not getting reimbursed for services as promised and are losing too much money. Obamacare established a number of co-ops to help provide coverage for lower income people, however, the majority of the co-ops have failed and closed. A number of the major healthcare insurance companies have dropped many of their Obamacare policies and others have or are planning to completely withdraw from providing any Obamacare policies. Millions of Americans have had their healthcare policies cancelled on them.

On a more positive note, a number of lower income individuals were able to purchase healthcare coverage with the help of the federal subsidies. Additionally, many people with pre-existing conditions were also able to obtain healthcare coverage for the first time in years.

However, even though Obamacare promised that pre-existing medical conditions would be covered, it never promised that coverage would be affordable. My wife has a minor heart condition that is treated with medication. I am overweight and have Type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure. When we shopped for healthcare, the cheapest policy we found was a bronze-tier plan that had a $4,000 deductible and then would only pay 60% of covered items and we all know how ‘covered items’ works. For this wonderful healthcare insurance policy, it would have cost us $816 a month. Like most Americans, there was no way we could afford to pay that much a month for so little coverage. It was cheaper to pay the tax penalty for the first couple of years. Thankfully, we both have Medicare now which although not great, is better than nothing.

In the wake of the election, President Donald Trump has vowed to keep his promise on Obamacare and has tasked Congress to come up with a workable replacement.

In the meantime, many Americans have been protesting and telling their politicians in Washington DC and the liberal media that they fear they will lose their current healthcare coverage if Obamacare is repealed. Trump has tried to reassure the worried public by saying that everyone will be covered, but saying and doing are two different things.
Many liberal critics have been saying that the Republicans have no plan to replace Obamacare with and others are saying that they have no idea how to proceed. No matter what the Republicans do or how good of a replacement they come up with, liberals will still pick and choose on what aspects to complain about. Not everyone will be satisfied and someone will always be unhappy and complain.

A recent report indicates that Washington Republicans are working on a draft for a healthcare replacement of Obamacare. Like most drafts, it is subject to change, so people should not start getting too worked up or bent out of shape over the preliminary reports such as those currently surfacing.

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“The Feb. 10 document follows the broad policy outline released by Republicans last week just before they went home for a Congressional recess. It proposes cuts to federal payments to states that have expanded Medicaid and offers tax credits for people to buy health insurance…”

“Under the plan, states that expanded eligibility for Medicaid would see their supplemental federal funding rolled back. The program would also be converted from a federal-state program that pays for all the health care beneficiaries get, to one where Washington sends a fixed amount of money to each state for each Medicaid enrollee.”

“To help people who don’t get insurance through their employer buy coverage, the bill offers age-based tax credits that start at $2,000 for individuals under age 30. It would rise to $4,000 for those over 60. Those credits are unlikely to cover the full cost of a plan that pays for routine health care, but could potentially pay for insurance that protects against a catastrophic health event.”

The problem I see with offering a tax credit is that it only applies when you file your taxes, not when you have to pay out that monthly premium while trying to pay your mortgage/rent, keep the utilities on and food on the table.
Larry Levitt, Senior Vice President at the Kaiser Family Foundation commented about the early draft:

“This would mean fewer people could afford health insurance and that the health insurance would likely cover less.”

Like I said, this is an early draft and subject to a lot of change. I don’t envy those men and women tasked to find a workable placement, but be assured, Republicans are working on a plan and hopefully, it will be better than Obamacare.