The American Health Care Act (also known as Trumpcare) just got even worse, after some late-night tweaking by House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin).
Currently, the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) requires that health insurance companies provide ten essential benefits as part of any insurance plan. Those benefits include:
- Prescription drugs
- Outpatient care without being admitted to a hospital
- Pregnancy, maternity, and newborn care
- Pediatric healthcare for children, including dental and vision
- Mental health and substance abuse care, including counseling
- Rehabilitative and habilitative care, i.e. physical therapy for those recovering from injury
- Emergency room care
- Laboratory services
According to Jonathan Chait at New York Magazine, Republican leaders attempting to get their bill passed through the House of Representatives proposed the new amendments in order to placate right-wing extremists in Congress who opposed Trumpcare because it wasn’t cruel enough. As it stands, Trumpcare would now replace Obamacare’s income-based health insurance subsidies with tax credits based on age, all so people shopping for health insurance can purchase cut-rate coverage that doesn’t even provide the aforementioned essential benefits.
“We want the free market competition,” Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pennsylvania) told Politico in defending the new changes. “How can you have free market competition when the government is mandating what is going to be included.”
While the bill needs 215 votes to pass the House of Representatives, it will likely die in the Senate, with more than enough Republicans on record opposing the bill. That opposition stems from Trumpcare’s rolling back of state Medicaid funding that would result in approximately 11 million Americans losing their coverage. Harvard medical school lecturers Steffie Woolhandler and David Himmelstein estimated that some 43,000 Americans would die every year if Medicaid expansion was repealed with nothing to replace it.
In an official analysis of the bill published on Wednesday, the Kaiser Family Foundation discovered that out-of-pocket expenses paid for by patients prior to their health insurance actually kicking in (deductibles) would increase to over $4,000 for the average American, compared to roughly $2,500 under Obamacare.
Tom Cahill is a writer for the Resistance Report based in the Pacific Northwest. He specializes in coverage of political, economic, and environmental news. You can contact him via email at [email protected], or follow him on Facebook.