GOP Releases ACA Replacement Plan…and it’s Just What We Expected
The GOP released their ACA replacement plan and it will leave millions without coverage in the United States. Instead of insurance subsidies, the plan outlines individual tax credits, based on income and age, meaning low-income families would receive less money than they are receiving under the ACA. Under the GOP’s proposed replacement plan, there would also be less Medicaid funding and Planned Parenthood would lose the ability to receive Medicaid reimbursement and/or family planning grants.
Under two bills drafted by separate House committees, the government would no longer penalize Americans for failing to have health insurance but would try to encourage people to maintain coverage by allowing insurers to impose a surcharge of 30 percent for those who have a gap between health plans.
The legislation would preserve two of the most popular features of the 2010 health-care law, letting young adults stay on their parents’ health plans until age 26 and forbidding insurers to deny coverage or charge more to people with preexisting medical problems. It would also target Planned Parenthood, rendering the women’s health organization ineligible for Medicaid reimbursements or federal family planning grants — a key priority for antiabortion groups.
The debate, starting in House committees this week, is a remarkable moment in government health-care policymaking. The Affordable Care Act, former president Barack Obama’s signature domestic policy achievement passed in 2010 with only Democratic support, ushered in the most significant expansion of insurance coverage since the creation of Medicare and Medicaid as part of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s Great Society programs of the mid-1960s.
There is no precedent for Congress to reverse a major program of social benefits once it has taken effect and reached millions of Americans.
At the same time, major aspects of the plans, notably the strategy for tax credits and Medicaid, reflect the treacherous terrain that Republicans face to win enough votes within their own conferences in the GOP-controlled House and Senate.
The bills must address concerns of both conservatives worried about the cost of the overhaul and worries that it might in effect enshrine a new federal entitlement, as well as more moderate members who want to ensure that their constituents retain access to affordable health care, including those who received Medicaid coverage under the ACA.