President Trump’s replacement for Obamacare has just been announced, including its official title the “World’s Greatest Healthcare Plan of 2017”. The news has already prompted disagreement across both party lines, as well as industry participants. The American Medical Association said that the House GOP Bill would “reverse the coverage gains” of Obamacare, and cause millions of people to lose coverage, according to reports.
The next steps are for lawmakers to closely examine every aspect of the document, and make revisions during the coming months. Trump’s administration has boasted that they have taken away the parts of Obamacare that people did not like, which includes a fine if they do not purchase coverage. However, people will still be given the penalty, only now it will be paid to their insurance provider instead of the government. The document is also now only 50 pages long, compared to the previous Affordable Care Act of 2010 which was 900 pages.
Tom Price, the new Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, mentioned the phrase “conscience clauses”, which reports claim is a hint that the new plan might not cover birth control. However, no public statement has been made about this yet.
Democrats have since claimed that the healthcare replacement plan will not protect the Americans who are most vulnerable. There are plans to cut Planned Parenthood funding, which provides millions of people with access to mammograms, cancer screenings and maternity care, and Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer also pointed out the reduced protection for young people, LGBTQ people, people of colour, rural communities and those on low incomes. He wrote on social media, “Simply put #Trumpcare is a mess for the American people. We Democrats will fight tooth & nail to put your access to healthcare first.”
Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill claimed that Trump’s plan is repeating the same mistakes of Obamacare but “on steroids”, as she wrote on Twitter, “Jamming bill, no cost estimate, no [Democratic] votes.” Senator Tom Cotton insisted that Obamacare 2.0 is “moving too quickly”, while some of his colleagues say that it does not go far enough. President Trump said that state competition would be addressed in the second and third phase of the roll-out. Reports have stated that on paper the most popular parts of Obamacare still exist, however, the tweaks are in the small print.
The crucial medicaid, which is relied upon by many of Trump’s supporters, will stay until 2020 when a cap will be introduced that will show how much states can spend on medicaid. It is yet to be seen how the new plan will look by the time it reaches the President’s desk, but there will be similar elements from 2010. According to the most recent survey from the Pew Research Centre, 54% of Americans were happy with Obamacare, which is the highest level in years.
On Wednesday White House Press Secretary, Sean Spicer, insisted that Obamacare “got the entire system shattered”. He said, “The issue was, in an attempt to solve a problem that affected a very specified, fine group of people, that affected the whole healthcare market.”
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