Health Care Act withdrawn

Ryan’s plan failed to receive necessary support from Senate

Kolton Hegstrom, Assistant News Editor

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan’s (R-Wisconsin) proposed American Health Care Act (AHCA) was withdrawn on March 24 because of lack of support for the bill. Even though the bill wasn’t passed, it will likely be the rough outline for the final bill that will be proposed.

The bill is not entirely different from the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

“It’s [The AHCA] not exactly a repeal,” Dr. Eric Loepp, political science professor at
UW-Whitewater said.
“It’s changing to be sure and it’s revising, but it’s not really undoing Obamacare.”

The proposed bill kept some of the popular provisions of the Affordable Care Act. For example, children are able to stay on their parents plan until they are 26, there is protection for those with pre-existing diseases and no lifetime insurance caps. The first major difference is the removal of the individual mandate.
Under the ACA, citizens were required by law to have health insurance and would not be under the proposed AHCA. However, under the AHCA, if a customer goes off their insurance plan for two months or longer the insurance company can do a 30 percent upcharge for a year when the customer purchases insurance again.

The AHCA was estimated to reduce the deficit by $337 billion according the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).

“The arguments [for this plan] are more about the money than how this is helping satisfy the health care needs,” Dr. Kate Ksobiech health communications professor said.

The AHCA would have ended the extra taxes that former President Barack Obama put in place to receive funding for the ACA. These taxes include a 3.8 percent investment tax and 0.9 percent surcharge tax on wages above $250,000. According to the Joint Committee on Taxation, these tax cuts would save the wealthiest 0.1 percent of Americans nearly $200,000 per year. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities average citizens who make less than $200,000 per year would not receive any benefits from these tax cuts.

With this reduction in taxes the government and the insurance companies won’t be able to provide as much care as they did under the ACA. This means under the proposed AHCA, insurance companies would no longer be required to cover maternity care, mental health, drug abuse, hospitalization, outpatient care, emergency services, prescription drugs, rehabilitation, laboratory services, preventative care or pediatric care. These ten items were called “essential health benefits” and were required to be covered under the ACA.

The Congressional Budget Office did a review of the proposed health care plan and they estimated that by 2024, if this plan had passed, 52 million Americans would not have health insurance. Comparatively, the CBO estimated that 28 million would not have health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. The CBO also found that the proposed plan would cut Medicaid by $880 billion. Uninsured citizens can present a problem for other Americans who do pay for insurance.

“There are so many uninsured people who are still going to need health coverage or medical intervention,” Dr. Ksobiech said. “Who’s going to pay for that?”

Paul Ryan and the rest of the Republicans have changes to make to the AHCA in order to appease both Republicans and Democrats. However, Ryan and Trump did outline the general framework that the plan will follow.