March 21, 2017
If you weren’t already concerned about the current state of affairs in the U.S., the recent White House budget proposal and its cuts to important and much-needed health services should make you cringe.
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) assessment of the American Health Care Act, aka ‘Trumpcare‘ aka ‘Ryancare‘, indicates that approximately 24 million people will lose their health insurance by 2026, with 14 million losing it in the next year. These people are largely low-income, with 14 million of the individuals anticipated to lose care currently accessing critical services through the Medicaid expansion.
The Affordable Care Act (ACA), which Republicans love to hate, has saved thousands of lives annually. In addition to providing access to care to millions of low-income people, the ACA includes many crucial elements that benefit everyone:
- Individuals with preexisting conditions are guaranteed access to insurance, and for an affordable price, just like everyone else;
- Employers must provide decent health insurance options at an affordable price;
- The ACA prevents gender discrimination, so women don’t have to pay more for certain services;
- There is greater access to mental health, dental and vision care;
- There are no longer life-time limits or annual dollar limits; and
- There is an emphasis on prevention through the provision of many free essential benefits, including preventive care and screening, OB-GYN services and free birth control.
‘TrumpCare/RyanCare’ seeks to gut crucial elements of the ACA. While they claim their new plan will improve access and affordability for all Americans, the clear reality is that one of their primary motives involves lowering taxes for corporations and higher income individuals.
‘TrumpCare/RyanCare’ is the most recent iteration of a number of poorly devised health care plans, including Rep. Sessions’ “World’s Greatest Healthcare Plan of 2017”, intended to replace the ACA. The plan seeks to:
- Phase out the Medicaid expansion all together. Individuals would not be immediately removed from Medicaid if they enrolled in the plan prior to 2020, however a lapse of coverage for even one month would prevent re-enrollment.
- Federal funding for Medicaid will be capped, which is likely going to impact access to services in states.
- While pre-existing coverage will still be available, individuals will pay 30% higher premiums if they lose coverage as a result of switching jobs or losing employment.
- The limited tax credits that will remain can’t be used to purchase any type of insurance that covers abortion beyond exceptions related to rape, incest and danger of the mother. Women will be required to purchase separate coverage for abortions.
While the administration has promised that no one will lose coverage or quality under the ‘TrumpCare/RyanCare’ health plan, the CBO analysis indicates otherwise. In addition to the fact that many people will quickly lose access to coverage, the structure of the plan as a whole does not indicate success for the marketplace overall. No one will be required to pay taxes and no one will be required to join a health plan. This will likely result in a very high cost pool, with people opting to insure themselves only when they are desperate.
While the proposed plan is problematic for a host of reasons, the most offensive piece is the sheer lack of consideration for Americans who are most in need and who will surely suffer should this plan succeed.
In fewer than three months, we’ve seen this administration propose to cut funding for the arts, humanities, and public education and also twitter-harassing the Environmental Protection Agency for its stance on climate change.
The time is now to make our voices heard and let this administration know how we feel about this ill-conceived plan, which would disrupt millions of lives and ultimately result in millions of preventable deaths.
Shayla is a Program Manager here at The Praxis Project and a UCLA graduate. Her full bio can be found on our Staff Page.