author: nicholas giokas | contributor
There is no logical reason to go back to the pre-Obamacare status quo for pre-existing conditions aside from screwing over women.
The American Health Care Act, “Trumpcare,” “Republicare,” the spiritual manifestation of every dumpster fire that has ever burned across human history, or whatever you want to call it, is quite possibly one of the most confusingly terrible bills to be passed through the House of Representatives in this millennium. The GOP likes to refer to their party as the “Party of Ideas,” yet this bill shows that they don’t have any. In raw terms, AHCA will force, by conservative estimates, over 20 million people off of their healthcare coverage. This is because it will also not only permit states to allow insurance companies to charge higher premiums for having pre-existing conditions, it will make pregnancy and sexual assault pre-existing conditions, as well (this was the status quo before Obamacare). To go even further, the tax break/premium rate hike trade-off in the bill is so poorly handled that the only “winners” in terms of the difference in insurance prices are the wealthy. In plain English, the bill is awful.
When one reads the AHCA, it becomes painfully obvious that the GOP legislators had vague ideas of what they wanted to accomplish with the Repeal and Replacement of Obamacare, but did an abysmal job of it. In terms of the tax break/premium rate hike trade-off it is clear that the GOP wanted insurance companies to lower the average market price for premiums by charging higher prices for certain people; those people (usually the elderly) would then get tax breaks to make it a neutral trade-off between the new system and Obamacare.
However, in almost every case, when you run the numbers, the tax break is far, far less than the projected premium rate hike, meaning the change is a net negative. Furthermore, the major issue with Obamacare was the lack of movement of people between the individual and group markets for health insurance. Does AHCA fix that? No. Under AHCA you can fall out of insurance coverage when you move between insurance markets, meaning the starting price will be higher thereby making markets that much more static and premium rate increases that much more likely. In plain terms, AHCA doesn’t accomplish what the GOP wants it to.
However, what does it accomplish? Well, it will absolutely make the decision to have a child a much larger financial burden, and it penalizes going forward with criminal justice against a sexual predator because being pregnant or being a victim of sexual assault are now considered pre-existing conditions. Now, even if we ignore how morally repugnant this decision is, the GOP has one main goal they want out of health care reform: lower insurance premiums. Another of Obamacare’s issues is that not enough healthy people were entering the insurance markets, and with AHCA it disincentives healthy people even further. There is no logical reason to go back to the pre-Obamacare status quo for pre-existing conditions aside from screwing over women.
In conclusion, the AHCA completely guts federal funding for healthcare through Medicare and Medicaid, meaning that the number and quality of hospitals, doctors, and anything else will also drop. This is done because the GOP wants to lower taxes. However, when one takes into account the negative economic effects of cutting health-care spending alongside the proposed tax cuts, the inevitable result is a ballooning deficit that is the opposite of what the GOP supposedly wants. Once again, even if we were to ignore the immorality of effectively taking 20 million people off of health care coverage, while we also ignore the immorality of essentially targeting women who choose to have a child or are victims of sexual assault … yes, even if we ignore all that, passing the AHCA still doesn’t accomplish what the GOP wants it to.
If there’s a lesson here, it has to be that government policy, especially health care, is incredibly hard to parse out. It is an absolute necessity that people focus not on vague populist rhetoric, but on the hard results of their proposed policies. Policymakers and voters need to be vigorous when they ask “What do I want to accomplish and does this get me there?” So, even though this debacle is an American issue, we ought to take the parable to heart.