Make Them Hear You! is a weekly feature on KGNU, produced by Chris Mohr, letting listeners know how they can have their voices heard on issues up before Congress. You can hear it Wednesday mornings at 8.20am during the Morning Magazine.
John Boehner recently said repeal and replacement of Obamacare are “not going to happen. Republicans never ever agree on healthcare.” Responding to pressure from the Koch Brothers and the many lobbying groups they support, Paul Ryan wants to ram a replacement plan through Congress by April 7 – which Boehner dismissed as “happy talk. I started laughing.”
To his credit, Trump has said repeatedly that any Republican plan would “have insurance for everybody.”
The House Republicans’ new healthcare package would scale back the government’s role in health care and likely leave millions more Americans uninsured, including many residents of states carried by Donald Trump.
The plan would repeal the statute’s fines on the uninsured but impose a surcharge on people with gaps in coverage. It would allow insurers to once again offer grossly inadequate health plans. It would replace income-based subsidies with age-based ones—bad news for low-income people. A couple in their early sixties told me their subsidies would drop from over $14,000 a year to $4000. Originally, the GOP had been intending to dump entirely the ACA subsidies that help poor and middle-class people obtain insurance.
The plan calls for more tax breaks for the rich and insurance companies, undercutting revenue used to finance coverage, all ending by next year.
Retained from Obamacare will include pre-existing condition protection, no lifetime caps, and young adults keeping their parents’ insurance until age 26.
Federal insurance subsidies will be replaced with individual tax credits and state grants. Many Republicans still balk at the cost of the proposal.
The Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion — which has extended coverage to over 10 million people — has been embraced by a majority of governors. Many of them, including Republicans, want to continue that program. But soon there will be a freeze on new Medicaid funding. Four Republican senators, including Cory Gardner, have cautioned “We will not support a plan that does not include stability for Medicaid expansion populations or flexibility for states. We are concerned that any poorly implemented or poorly timed change in the current funding structure in Medicaid could result in a reduction in access to life-saving health care services.” In Colorado, 407,000 residents get insurance through Medicaid because of the expansion.
The Congressional Budget Office has not had time to assess how this new configuration would affect federal spending or the number of people with insurance coverage.
If you’re concerned about the abolition of the Affordable Care Act, you can call or write your representative and Senators to register your opinion.