Republicans unveiled their highly anticipated American Health Care Act, the plan designed to replace Obamacare. While there are some stark differences between it and Obamacare, many Republicans say it's not different enough, even dubbing the new plan as "Obamacare Light" and vowing to release a different replacement bill.
The main objection dissenting Republicans have with the new legislation is that, like Obamacare, they believe there is still too much government involvement in the new plan. Despite these GOP grumblings, Speaker Paul Ryan says the American Health Care Act will get the 216 votes in the House needed for its passage.
Although the details of the plan are now released to the public, arguably the most important detail, the cost, is missing. That won't be known until the Congressional Budget Office scores it, which could be a game changer. That CBO score is expected to be released next week.
Things That Stay
The most popular elements of Obamacare remain in the American Health Care Act.
1. Pre-existing conditions are covered Insurers must offer health insurance to all people, even if they are very sick.
2. Kids stay on parents insurance until age 26
3. Ban on annual and lifetime limits
4. Medicaid Expansion Obamacare allowed for millions more low income people to be covered by Medicaid. The new plan keeps that provision...for now. In 2020 and enrollment freeze will take effect.
Things That Go
1. Individual mandate This is arguably the most objectionable aspect of Obamacare to the majority of opponents. It states that an individual citizen must, under law, obtain health care insurance or face a fine. However, although the individual mandate is eradicated under AHCA, the same idea exists. The new legislation states that if an insured person decides to discontinue their policy for longer than two months, when they start back up again, they're faced with a whopping 30% premium surcharge for an entire year.
2. Paying for costly insurance benefits you don't want People purchasing insurance will no longer be forced to buy expensive plans that mandate certain coverage items, such as maternity care, if they don't want them. Likewise, insurers can charge less for plans that offer fewer benefits than more expensive plans.
The AHCA places more emphasis on age, Obamacare was more about income. Both plans offer tax credits to buy insurance, but Obamacare's were based on income, with poor people getting more help. The AHCA gives more help to people as they get older.