The American Health Care Act’s Prosperity Gospel

May 9, 2017


Stop me if you’ve heard this one. A Trump voter in Trump country—maybe a coal miner in West Virginia or the patron of a sleepy diner in rural Kentucky—is a recipient of Medicaid coverage under Obamacare for a life-threatening illness or chronic condition, but still maintains total support for President Trump and a zeal for repealing the program.

Soon enough, there may be an addition to the tale of the anti-Obamacare Trump voter. On Thursday, the American Health Care Act, the Republican plan to repeal and replace Obamacare, passed the House after months of deliberation and frustration for the party. Party leaders celebrated in the Rose Garden; perhaps people in Trump country celebrated, too. But Democrats are likely fretting over the prospects of a bill that many of them deemed politically impossible. How did a bill that almost certainly makes health-care more expensive for low-income, sicker, older, and more rural voters who make up much of the Republican base even make it this far?

One good answer might come from a recent interview on the AHCA between Alabama’s Representative Mo Brooks and CNN’s Jake Tapper. “[The plan] will allow insurance companies to require people who have higher health care costs to contribute more to the insurance pool,” Brooks claimed. “That helps offset all these costs, thereby reducing the cost to those people who lead good lives, they’re healthy, they’ve done the things to keep their bodies healthy. And right now, those are the people—who’ve done things the right way—that are seeing their costs skyrocketing.”

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One comment on “The American Health Care Act’s Prosperity Gospel”

  • I see the US Senate is having yet another try to reduce Obamacare coverage!

    US Senate Republicans have released a revamped health bill in a bid to rally their divided party around its seven-year campaign to repeal Obamacare.

    The plan retains key Obamacare taxes on the wealthy, while allowing insurers to offer less coverage and imposing sharp cuts to healthcare for the poor.

    The new bill aims to woo Republicans of conservative and moderate factions.

    Congress is delaying its summer holiday in a bid to overturn former President Barack Obama’s 2010 legislation.
    What’s new?

    The latest version of the Republican bill would retain two taxes on people earning more than $200,000 (£155,000), which have helped pay for Obamacare.

    Plans for hundreds of billions of dollars in cuts to Medicaid, a healthcare programme for the poor and disabled, are largely unchanged in the Senate’s revised plan.

    The Better Care Reconciliation Act would also provide an extra $45bn to tackle the US opioid epidemic that is wreaking havoc in some Republican senators’ constituencies.

    It includes an additional $70bn to help cover so-called out-of-pocket expenses, which are medical fees not reimbursed by insurers.

    The bill also incorporates conservative Senator Ted Cruz’s proposal to let insurers offer stripped-down, low-cost healthcare plans by ducking Obamacare rules requiring coverage for “essential” health benefits.

    These include maternity and postnatal care, mental health services, addiction treatment, outpatient care, hospitalisation, emergency room visits and prescription drugs.

    Insurance companies have warned that Senator Cruz’s plan would harm people with pre-existing medical conditions by making their insurance unaffordable.

    The Congressional Budget Office found that the previous version of the bill would leave 22 million fewer people insured over a decade.

    Senate Republicans are now awaiting a new assessment from the nonpartisan score-keeper.

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