Congressional Republicans have finally released their answer to the Obamacare repeal-and-replace question, and it’s even worse than imagined.
Rather than stick with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) staples of expanding Medicaid for low-income Americans and subsidies to help qualified people buy mandatory health insurance, the Republican version phases out Medicaid expansion and eliminates subsidies in favor of tax credits between $2,000 and $4,000, depending on the income level of the person buying health insurance, according to The Hill.
House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas) said he expects the proposal to pass through both the House and Senate, saying the Republicans’ Obamacare replacement was assembled with input from nearly all members of the Republican caucus.
We’ve been listening very carefully to our Republican members for months now to make sure we get it right,” Brady said in a Fox News interview. “I am confident we are going to pass this.”
However, doing away with state Medicaid expansion could result in a sizable death toll from poor people not being able to afford healthcare. Two Harvard Medical School lecturers wrote in the Washington Post earlier this year that, using numbers from the New England Journal of Medicine, repealing Medicaid expansion could kill as many as 43,000 people each year.
“[F]or every 455 people who gained coverage across several states, one life was saved per year,” wrote David Himmelstein and Steffie Woolhandler. “Applying that figure to even a conservative estimate of 20 million losing coverage in the event of an ACA repeal yields an estimate of 43,956 deaths annually.”
Jamie Green is a contributor for the Resistance Report covering the Trump administration, and lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan.