Health

The New AHCA Bill Is Not An Upgrade From Obamacare

| by Shani Shahmoon

Republicans took another stab at health care, unfortunately.

U.S. President Donald Trump ran on a major promise to repeal his predecessor's universal-health care act, known as the Affordable Care Act. And, unlike his other promises, Trump has gone pretty far to ensure this one gets the attention that it deserves.

The first health care bill proposed during this presidential term, the American Health Care Act (AHCA), got dropped in March, before it even made its way through Congress. This came about when the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released their analysis on the bill, claiming that it would result in over 20,000 Americans losing health insurance.

Since then, Republicans continued to fine-tune their notorious plans to repeal Obamacare and on May 4, they actually managed to get their newest version of AHCA passed by Congress. This new legislation attempting to repeal Obama's Affordable Care Act (ACA) has sparked major outcry by medical associations, insurance companies and many Americans, NPR reported.

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The U.S. Senate better be ready to take out their red pens and make some major changes.

The new legislation has left many Americans with a sense of impending doom, given its lack of recognizing economic status and the effects of aging, as well as the financial burden of pre-existing medical conditions.

This bill, rather than looking at income to assess the cost of health insurance on individuals and families, takes into account age. The older you are, the higher the cost your insurance will be.

While Republicans might think that this will appeal to the Millennial generation that have pledged their allegiance to the progressive movements, they failed to remember that we aren't heartless, and nor are we stupid.

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We are aware that the aging population is often plagued with debilitating conditions which prevent them from working, and therefore prevent them from having a source of income. We witness our parents struggle as disorders like dementia and diseases such as Alzheimer's force them to choose ridiculously expensive senior living homes. And we aren't dumb enough to think that we will never grow up and face these conditions, as well. You can't avoid aging.

But that's just one part of the bill.

Another aspect of the new AHCA that has caused a massive uproar is the caveat about pre-existing conditions, known as the MacArthur Amendment.

Prior to Obamacare, insurance companies could deny coverage to those with pre-existing conditions. Under the new AHCA, people with existing conditions will not be denied coverage, but insurance companies can charge them more.

As David Lazarus from the Los Angeles Times so correctly said: "[I]t protects people with preexisting conditions much as starving people may be welcome at a restaurant, but only if they order the most expensive dishes on the menu."

And while those in these "high-risk pools" will be able to be partially subsidized by the $138 billion allotted for this specific group of people, CBO and other health care companies have clearly stated that amount will be far from enough.

Jennifer Kent, director of the California Department of Health Care Services, put this into perspective with a couple of anecdotes.

"We had one person, a child with hemophilia, in Medi-Cal who cost $21 million last year, she said. "We had five other people who cost over $10 million each. Put them together and that’s just six people costing almost $100 million."

As the bill quickly makes its way to the Senate, organizations affected by the bill such as the American Medical Association, the AARP, the American Cancer Society, and the American College of Physicians have stated their opposition, CNN reported.

All we can hope for now is that the Senate does the right thing and shoots the bill down.

Click here for the opposing view on this topic

Sources: CNN, NPR, Los Angeles Times / Photo credit: Pixabay

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