The first hundred days of the Trump administration has been full of drama. The majority has been justified, while some of the criticism can fall in the category of hyper partisan politics. This is normal in today’s political climate in Washington D.C. and extremely detrimental to the well being and security of the American people. President Trump promised to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that was passed under former president Obama.
From president Trump’s demeanor in recent interviews it’s become obvious that the reality of the regulatory and bill passing process of governmental bureaucracies is hitting him in the face. I believe he underestimated the amount of cooperation that is needed between both parties to get his healthcare policies passed. The outright full repeal and replacement of the ACA that he promised on the campaign trail is not going to happen. Thus, Senator Ryan pushed for a compromise on the ACA, and the American Healthcare Act (AHCA) was born. Rep Dennis Ross of (FL) described the AHCA as:
- It establishes a healthcare system built upon free-market and consumer-driven principles that will revive competition, increasing quality, drive down costs, and expand coverage.
- Congressional members and staff are not exempt from the AHCA. The McSally Amendment made sure this legislation applies equally to everyone.
- Those with pre-existing conditions cannot be denied coverage.
- Low-income Americans are not losing coverage and will still receive coverage under Medicaid.
- Sets aside $100 billion for states to help low-income Americans access affordable healthcare.
- Restores $79 billion to hospitals who provide a high proportion of care to the most vulnerable patients, including certain Medicaid and Medicare recipients.
- The AHCA modernizes and strengthens Medicaid with the biggest entitlement reform in a generation.
The concern around individuals with pre-existing conditions losing coverage is rightfully so. As a modern civilized western country, its unfathomable that any of our citizens would be put in jeopardy of losing their life or the risk of financial ruin due to circumstances that are out of their hands. The AHCA has taken steps to makes sure those with pre-existing conditions will continue to be protected:
- Insurance companies are prohibited from denying or not renewing coverage due to a pre-existing condition. Period.
- Insurance companies are banned from rescinding coverage based on a pre-existing condition. Period.
- Insurance companies are banned from excluding benefits based on a pre-existing condition. Period.
- Insurance companies are prevented from raising premiums on individuals with pre-existing conditions who maintain continuous coverage. Period.
One of the more controversial aspects of the AHCA has to do with the defunding of Planned Parenthood (PP). The defunding of Planned Parenthood was due political reasons and to satisfy president Trump’s voter base. Many individuals on the right side of the political spectrum view PP as practicing in unethical behavior because they provide abortion procedures to women facing unsettling decisions. Many stated that the AHCA is doing away with women’s healthcare coverage. This is untrue. Its just redirecting funds from PP to other women’s health organizations.
- Women’s health will not be neglected. Instead, the AHCA will redirect $422 million to community health centers around the United States—ones that do not perform abortions and have a proven record of helping women.
There were many problems with the ACA, it was by no means perfect. The passage of the ACA was one of the biggest pieces of healthcare regulation to have been passed in nearly fifty years. The growing cost of healthcare expenditures on the GDP was of great concern to all Americans. The ACA was one of the first steps to lower the healthcare cost curve while also providing insurance to the under-insured and uninsured in our society. Hopefully the AHCA will be able to expand on the ACA and secure lower healthcare insurance for all Americans. No matter what your feelings towards the Trump administration is, it would be unethical to cheer for the failure of the AHCA, as lives depend on its success.