By Dani Graham
The utter disdain for the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare, was the predominant issue which compelled people to swarm the voting booths in the last 3 elections.
From the moment the Democrats single-handedly shoved the ACA down the throats of the American people the Republicans have campaigned and fundraised on the promise to “repeal and replace” this dreaded bill. The people obliged by giving them the house in 2010, then the Senate in 2014 and finally the Presidency in 2016.
After getting all they swore they needed the long awaited day had finally come for the Republicans to unveil their plan, the American Health Care Act (aka RINOCare or Trumpcare) on Tuesday morning. Upon close examination of the AHCA it is clear that not only does it not appear to be a repeal but it barely resembles a replacement.
It’s like when you get that regifted Christmas present where someone cleans it up and rewraps it all nice but you know it’s not new.
Instead of repealing and replacing the ACA as they have promised for the past 7 years the Republicans simply amended it. It is now evident that all the times they voted to repeal Obamacare was just a theatrical show to win elections.
Simply put the Republicans broke their promises to the American people. They exchanged the regulations, taxes, subsidies and mandates of Obamacare with their own version of each.
One of the devastating effects of Obamacare has been the erosion of the doctor/patient relationship. The ever increasing expense of running a private or small practice due to the intrusive regulations has driven many doctors to join larger group practices or hospitals while still others have left medicine altogether. In these larger settings, the time doctors would spend with their patients has been replaced with codes and paperwork. Removing these regulations and bureaucratic control is the main way to bring down cost and improve patient care. It is a huge disappointment to see that the Republicans have decided to keep theses measures in place even after railing against fo so long.
Obamacare attempted to force compliance by imposing a fine for those who failed to get insurance. Trumpcare replaced this mandate with a 30% penalty for anyone who remains uninsured for more than 2 consecutive months (62 days) which is to be paid to their former insurance company.
This Republican edition of Obamacare simply put a facelift on the subsidies instead of eliminating them. The AHCA replaces the income-based subsidies with ones based on age. Younger people will receive a $2000 tax credit to put toward insurance, older individuals $4000 and families up to $14,000. All of which are phased out with higher incomes. In reality, this is a colossal new entitlement program.
Some other effects of Trumpcare:
- Medicaid expansion is untouched while incentivizing states to expand Medicaid since they didn’t halt future enrollment til 2020.
- Insurance companies are allowed to charge older people up to five times more than younger ones which could lead to some of the older generation being priced out of healthcare.
- The Cadillac Tax is still in place which allows the government to tax individuals who have more expensive coverage.
- There is nothing in the bill to help lower prices, encourage competition, improve patient care, the ability to purchase insurance across state lines or any of the other conservative aspects they have advocated for.
The Republicans effectively created a more liberal healthcare plan than the liberals did. They out liberaled the liberals.
Trumpcare is the new sequel to Obamacare. The plot is the same while the characters and settings are different. The producers of the sequel are about to embark on a full-blown promotional tour. They will perform brilliant linguistical acrobats in an effort to convince us that the sequel is better than the original. What we must remember is that the sequel is never better than the original especially when the original flopped at the box office.