While it may not be perfect, the new health care bill is undoubtedly better than the one that it was drafted to replace.
On May 4, the United States House of Representatives passed the American Health Care Act. If passed by the Senate in the future, the bill will replace the Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare), which -- according to Forbes -- became law in March of 2010. The House passed the AHCA with a 217 to 213 vote, reports The Washington Post.
Throughout his campaign, President Donald Trump frequently promised to make changes to the United States' health care system. With this in mind, he has been a staunch proponent of the effort to replace Obamacare with the AHCA. However, the AHCA has not been met with the same enthusiasm by everyone. According to CNN, the bill has been opposed by several prominent organizations, including the AARP, the American Medical Association, and Heritage Action.
It is not necessarily bad that these groups would oppose the AHCA. Any new piece of legalization should of course be met with some amount of scrutiny in order to ensure that its passing will benefit the country as a whole. However, several reasons that many think that AHCA will be a bad idea are simply not true. If one looks a little more closely at the bill, it becomes clear that it will improve upon Obamacare by keeping its positive aspects and doing away with its negative ones.
One positive aspect of the AHCA -- and something that it borrows from its Obamacare predecessor -- is its stance on "essential health benefits," which can include doctors', pregnancy, and mental health services. According to The Independent, the AHCA prevents insurance companies from setting annual and lifetime limits on the amount individuals can be reimbursed from such benefits. In addition, children will still be able to stay on their parents' health plans until they reach 26 years of age.
Provisions such as these in the AHCA show that its makers truly have the well-being of the public in mind. They are not trying to repeal Obamacare for no good reason, but are rather trying to improve upon it.
Improvements to Obamacare are present throughout the AHCA. For example, the MacArthur Amendment within the AHCA will allow states to obtain waivers from rules that prohibit insurance companies from pricing policies according to risk, in addition to allowing them to opt out of providing the Essential Health Benefits listed above. While this may initially seem like a bad thing, it will actually have positive repercussions. According to The Hill, states that obtain the waiver will most likely see a drop in average insurance prices.
Another aspect of the AHCA that is very worrisome to many individuals is its stance on preexisting conditions. Under Obamacare, insurance providers could not deny coverage to individuals with preexisting conditions such as asthma. According to The Independent, the AHCA allows states to waive rules that stop insurers from charging people with preexisting conditions more.
Again, at first glance, something like this might seem very scary. However, there is a provision in the AHCA that ensures that those with preexisting conditions will indeed be able to get coverage. States that issue waivers are required to set up high-risk pools for individuals who would not be able to afford insurance. An additional amendment has set aside $8 billion to help meet this cost, according to The Independent.
While change is always scary, it is important to remember that good often comes from it. The AHCA has clearly been drafted with care and attention. While it may initially seem like some of its policies are bad, it will actually benefit this country as a whole. Therefore, when it comes time, the Senate should pass it.