What We Know About the Obamacare Replacement

It has taken forever to finally make it to the public eye, but thanks to a leaked draft bill, Americans are finally getting a view of what a GOP replacement plan for Obamacare may look like. And at first glance it appears to dramatically drop coverage, raise prices, and undo all of the good that came from the Affordable Care Act in the first place.

The only benefit? At least this time if you don’t like it, you don’t have to have any insurance whatsoever – until you get sick, of course, and by that time it will be too late.

“The legislation would take down the foundation of Obamacare, including the unpopular individual mandate, subsidies based on people’s income, and all of the law’s taxes,” reports Paul Demko at Politico. “It would significantly roll back Medicaid spending and give states money to create high risk pools for some people with pre-existing conditions. Some elements would be effective right away; others not until 2020. The replacement would be paid for by limiting tax breaks on generous health plans people get at work — an idea that is similar to the Obamacare ‘Cadillac tax’ that Republicans have fought to repeal.”

It’s difficult to understand how removing subsidies and limiting Medicaid expansion will allegedly make health insurance more affordable, the GOP’s biggest argument for why Obamacare should be scrapped in the first place. The only people then who should see any dramatic financial savings would be those who decide to ditch their insurance coverage all together, or those who return to low-coverage, catastrophic insurance plans that the ACA eliminated.

Oh, and older people who are wealthy, since they will now get disproportionately large tax breaks when before their insurance was likely unsubsidized due to their income. “For a person under age 30, the credit would be $2,000,” Demko reports. “That amount would double for beneficiaries over the age of 60, according to the proposal. A related document notes that HHS Secretary Tom Price wants the subsidies to be slightly less generous for most age groups.”

Whether all insurance plans will have to cover essential basics like mental health services, annual exams for women, prenatal and maternity care and birth control will likely get left up to the states, and with Medicaid expansion money being rolled back federally, you can assume that the rural and red states are going to say no as a cost savings mechanism.

Meanwhile, the proposal also defunds Planned Parenthood, meaning that at the same time the GOP undoes mandatory contraception coverage with no additional co-pay, it will also strip dollars from the most accessible reproductive health organization able to step in to the birth control void and help those who want to avoid getting pregnant.

“This bill confirms that anti-choice Republican leaders will stop at nothing to control women and our reproductive freedom,” NARAL Pro-Choice America President Ilyse Hogue said in an email statement. “From defunding Planned Parenthood to reinforcing the dangerous and discriminatory Hyde Amendment, this bill doubles down on President Trump’s anti-woman agenda. NARAL and our 1.2 million member-activists will not stand by as the GOP guts our nation’s health law and rolls back our reproductive freedom.”

The GOP already admits less people will likely end up with insurance this way, but blames that on their lack of “responsibility” rather than an industry that is trying to make a profit off of people’s health and a Republican party more interested in destroying anything related to President Obama than they are in helping their constituents.

“[The replacement plan] would do away with the Affordable Care Act’s requirement that all Americans have health coverage or pay a fine, and replace it with rules that let people choose not to buy insurance, instead paying higher premiums or penalties if they need it later,” reports the Boston Globe. “The result would be fewer people covered, said Republican lawmakers. ‘Not everybody is going to have health care — some people just don’t care enough about their own care,’ Representative Dennis Ross of Florida, a senior member of House Republicans’ vote-counting team, said in an interview Wednesday. He said Republicans can provide people access to affordable insurance plans, ‘but whether they take it or not is like trying to legislate responsibility.’”

Apparently it is “irresponsible” to not carry insurance when the monthly premium may end up bigger than your mortgage, yet still leave you paying most costs out of pocket.

With Obamacare at its highest popularity ever and voters showing up in droves to demand their congressional representatives leave it alone, it’s unclear if the GOP will go through with repeal and replace. But if they do, at least now we have a better idea of just how little they are replacing it with.

Photo credit: Thinkstock

82 comments

Marie W
Marie W1 years ago

Thanks for posting

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Lisa H
Lisa H1 years ago

Very happy we don't have to worry about this horrifying thing for awhile now!

How does insurance eliminate *essential* things like ambulance and prescription drug coverage?

This is insanity!

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Chen Boon Fook
Chen Boon Fook2 years ago

Thank you for sharing

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Karen H
Karen H2 years ago

Here ya go, Sandra Clayton - the info you were too lazy or uneducated to look up: The government does NOT cut a blank check to Planned Parenthood. PP is listed NOWHERE in the federal budget, and a law already prevents taxpayer dollars from being used to pay for abortions. Planned Parenthood is only reimbursed for the non-abortion health care services it provides to low-income women, including birth control, Pap smears, breast exams and STI tests, through Medicaid and the Title X family planning program. So, take away PP and we'll have less screening for breast cancer, cervical cancer, STIs... Is this what making America great is all about???

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Karen H
Karen H2 years ago

If the GOP wants to deny women access to contraception and abortion, they should also deny men access to erectile dysfunction drugs. No pap smears and mammograms for women? Then no prostate exams for men. It's only fair.

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Amanda M
Amanda M2 years ago

Sandra Clayton, get it through your thick head that taxes do NOT pay for abortions, no thanks to the Hyde Amendment! What women are FINALLY enjoying is not only being discriminated against in insurance costs simply for being female, but also having our preventive health care, such as mammograms, Pap smears, and yes, CONTRACEPTION completely covered by the ACA after YEARS of having to jump through the most asinine hoops possible. And yes, that is one of the things that Twitler and the Rethuglican Religious Reich wants to yank from the ACA because they can't stand our being free to do other things besides have kids. You know, minor stuff like, oh, completing our education, having a career, seeing the world, etc. And for a political party that claims to be all about "Christian values," they sure are acting anything but Christ-like by not only refusing to expand Medicaid coverage in many states, but now they want to throw that for EVERY state under the bus too, leaving the poor and working-class where they were before-unable to afford coverage because they have more important things to spend their money on like rent, food, utilities, gas to get to work, that kind of thing. Well, let me tell you something, sweetie-if it weren't for expanded Medicaid, I would be DEAD. Got that? DEAD. The reason? My gallbladder bailed on me eight years ago (not due to diet, bum gallbladders just run in my family), and we wouldn't have

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ERIKA S
ERIKA S2 years ago

noted

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Lady F
Lady F2 years ago

Before long, U.S. citizens will be illegally entering Mexico and Canada to get out of this regime, imo.

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ERIKA S
ERIKA S2 years ago

noted

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Dan Blossfeld
Dan Blossfeld2 years ago

Chad,
How about the first party to care.

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