In a small town in rural Pennsylvania, people gather outside of the local courthouse, in mind-states of concern and annoyance, at the possibility of Obamacare being terminated.
Alternatively, a group of individuals discuss the new possibilities of a better healthcare system within the confines of the local town hall in North Carolina. Since the inauguration of President Donald Trump, many American citizens have either applauded or worried over the new changes and possible termination of the Affordable Care Act or “Obamacare.”
The U.S. is currently split between the healthcare legacy of former President Barack Obama and the new administration’s attempts to dismantle the latest healthcare system.
While not perfect, Obamacare has helped thousands of individuals to receive healthcare but has also cost many Americans thousands of dollars because of the high premiums.
Lawmakers voted Thursday, May 4, on the American Health Care Act (AHCA). This bill, which will repeal Obamacare, has recently received some last-minute changes to legislation, with the hope of convincing conservatives and moderates to change their support in favor of the bill. But the bill is highly controversial.
While the passage of the AHCA is guaranteed before Congress goes on summer break, the Senate will likely make massive revisions to the bill.
One of the biggest issues with the AHCA includes the weaken of Obamacare’s protections for people with pre-existing conditions.
Currently, under Obamacare, anyone who has a pre-existing medical condition cannot be denied coverage by insurance companies, but under the new American Health Care Act, this will be weakened and millions of young Americans could become affected.
Within the U.S., 1 in 4 Americans (about 52 million) have pre-existing conditions that would be affected by this change in the AHCA. Up to 25 percent of them are millennials who are currently having a difficult time finding a job, putting themselves through college or just finding a place to live.
With the new healthcare plan, young Americans will either must stay with their employer that offer them healthcare until that become eligible for Medicare (usually about 70 years old) or have no health care coverage at all. While these realities become real for many with pre-existing conditions, their States will have a huge role in either helping or continuing to not support them.
Under AHCA, U.S. states could receive waivers that would grant insurance carriers to set insurance premiums based on the enrollees’ medical backgrounds.
If this opinion because too expensive for these enrollees, then they would need to let their present coverage lapse, and hopefully their state will set up a risk program, for high-risk individuals with pre-existing conditions, that would give help to these individuals with higher premiums.
Also, states could have the opportunity to seek waivers that would grant insurers to sell plans that do not cover essential health benefits mandated by the ACA.
Under Obamacare, insurance carriers are obligated to provide certain coverage to its clients including emergency services, outpatient care, maternity, hospitalization, substance abuse, mental health, rehabilitation services, prescription drugs, pediatric services, lab work and preventative care.
With the new AHCA coverage, insurance companies would not have to coverage these essential benefits to customers. Not only would this hurt the economy, through individuals saving more than spending to afford or plan for future issues, but if Americans did not receive coverage for these possible life issues, more people could fall victim to mental health issues.
To add onto the health issues, millennials would also have to be concerned with paying for higher premiums for their parents or taking care of their medicals bills all together.
Under AHCA, older Americans, from 65 and up, would have higher medical coverage premiums than younger adults. While this would not phase the top 5 percent of Americans whose income could support this, many American today are labeled as upper-lower income class Americans.
Many older Americans would not be able to afford this increase in premiums and have already complained about the Obamacare’s high premiums set by the insurance companies.
While most older Americans receive Medicaid, there are still a good number of Baby Boomers who do not receive it because they do not meet the requirements of the program.
If AHCA were to pass the Senate in a vote yet to be scheduled, there could be millions of Baby Boomers who cannot afford medical coverage and their children, who are part of Generation Y, would have to take care of the medical bills for them.
There would also be far too many losses than gains. On a national scale, 24 million American who have coverage under Obamacare, would lose their coverage by 2026.
Many millennials would not have coverage because of their pre-existing conditions and many more would have an added stress of taking care of their parents and grandparents, when they couldn’t afford healthcare because of increasing premiums for older Americans.
The AHCA legislation does add some value in certain areas for all Americans, but what is that value worth if the rest of it only hurts our America?
Cover cartoon credit: Sergio Algeri/GYV