When president Donald Trump got elected in November 2016, he pledged to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (also known as ACA). Last month, the first draft of the new proposal for the state healthcare insurance system was released in public. It is called the American Health Care Act (AHCA).
Perhaps the “affordable” was intentionally left out of the name: since it went under review, the AHCA caused serious controversy it terms of whether or not it truly aims to make health care accessible to everyone. It is oriented towards high-income households as they will undeniably enjoy new privileges, while low-income ones will get fewer benefits.
Back in the days, California was among the first U.S. states that fully embraced Medicaid expansion within Obamacare. The system actually worked and had a significant impact as it helped reduce the number of uninsured residents by 50% in just a few years. However, every change needs a certain amount of time to truly take action. Now that Obamacare is being replaced, healthcare advocates and policymakers are uncertain what to expect.
According to the state’s preliminary fiscal analysis, if the AHCA is adopted - California might face an annual loss of $24.3 billion in federal funding by 2027. The state has to find the way to keep the made progress safe and hold onto it in order to ensure health care for people. Some say it is practically impossible and that AHCA will reverse the success achieved within Obamacare almost instantly.
Currently, there are 13.6 million insured Californian residents and the uninsured rate is among the lower ones (around 10%). If you take a look at the Commonwealth Fund report, paying medical bills stays a number one challenge for the patients in need. And it is not just the hospital bills: people are struggling with covering the costs of prescribed medications, special treatments, or recommended tests.
President Trump has a plan of switching to block-granting the Medicaid, which fundamentally changes the system. The federal government will provide each state with a lump sum of money and authorize the particular state to decide on the future of that investment. The new Republican president also announced his plans to remove the 10 Essential Benefits from Obamacare and let each state decide what benefits are mandatory.
This clearly means the health care insurance coverage will not be unified across the U.S., which leaves more room for misapplications and waywardness: each state decides whether or not a person qualifies for the program.
To point out just a few benefits every American could count on while Affordable Care Act was in effect: prescription drugs, in-hospital care, preventive services, rehabilitative services, pregnancy, maternity, and newborn care, as well as pediatric services. If AHCA becomes legally binding, a simple thing as a child’s toothache could potentially be a huge problem for families who cannot afford the treatment. The fact the AHCA negatively affects vulnerable groups such as women and children has caused an outrage in the society but also triggered well-intentioned campaigns that want to make a difference. For instance, you can find an Encinitas Dentist who provides free dental service for kids who need it.
There seem to be no positive sides of the new American Health Care Act. Instead of reducing class differences, it seems to do the exact opposite thing: it stratifies the American society further, making health a privilege of the wealthy ones. However, the AHCA is still just a draft and the Congress is luckily not really fond of it.