We published our first blog post on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) on August 17, 2009. Now, almost eight years later, the House of Representatives is set to vote on legislation that would repeal and replace the ACA with a new law - the American Health Care Act (AHCA).
Here's what we know about the AHCA:
- It would make comprehensive changes to Medicaid: Additional money to states (such as Pennsylvania) that accepted Medicaid Expansion, which allows more people to get their insurance through Medicaid, would end. The entire funding mechanism for Medicaid would change, with states receiving a capped amount of funding regardless of how many people qualify for the program. Recent reports indicate that states may be able to impose a work requirement on "able-bodied individuals" applying for or using Medicaid.
- Under the AHCA, Medicaid could no longer be used at Planned Parenthood clinics. These clinics provide birth control, mammograms, and other types of reproductive care in addition to abortion services.
- Also under the AHCA, certain "essential benefits" required by the ACA would no longer be mandated in the individual insurance market. Instead, insurers could charge more to cover pregnancy, maternity, mental health care, and substance abuse (among other types of coverage).
- In the new law, the mandate to purchase insurance will not be enforced. Instead, if someone loses insurance coverage for 63 days or more, an insurer may charge up to 30% more in premiums when that person purchases coverage again.
- The AHCA will change the subsidies people receive to cover their health care, and will base those subsidies more on age than on income. Individuals and families qualifying for the credit will get between $2000-$4000 to offset insurance costs depending on their age. The ACA calculations are more complicated but are mostly based on income.
How will this affect Pennsylvanians? The Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center, using a tool developed by the Center for American Progress, reports that 970,600 Pennsylvanians will lose healthcare under the AHCA.
So, what can you do? Call your Representative to share your thoughts on the legislation (in fact, you might want to go ahead and save the phone number in your phone to make future calls easier). Visit http://whoismyrepresentative.com to find contact information for your Representative and make a call today.