It’s been a week since the Trump administration and House of Representatives passed a revamped healthcare bill that would repeal a significant part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), popularly known as Obamacare. If passed by the senate, the bill would mean more than 20 million Americans would no longer have health insurance.
The biggest change concerns pre-existing conditions – diseases, injuries or illness that affected a patient before he or she got a health insurance policy. States could allow insurers to set higher rates for patients who have a pre-existing condition. The new version of the Affordable Health Care Act (AHCA) doesn’t really allow insurers to refuse coverage, but it lets them seek permission to opt out of it. Obamacare’s “essential health benefits” that include basic services like hospitalization, prescription drugs and ambulance services, could become optional for plans in certain states.
States may also set up high-risk insurance pools, which are policies designed to help people with pre-existing conditions and pay for those who find it hard to get health insurance with federal aid. Critics say that high-risk pools are not a new idea and have failed to deliver in the past.
Fourth-year interactive design and game development student Bhabna Haque said she feels this bill is discriminatory. “Those with prior health issues will be stuck with second class coverage,” said Haque. “It’s like dating an NBA player. Everyone thinks it’s flashy and great, but he beats you every night and your insurance won’t even cover it.”
However, at this point we do not know the true effects of the bill since it hasn’t officially been budgeted. Insurance companies complain that it is the only way to prevent people from buying insurance until they are already sick.
Supporters of the AHCA do not wish to pay for the health care of those who wait till the last minute to buy insurance. The revised bill will encourage consumers to buy inexpensive plans because they don’t want to pay for all the excessive benefits that are mandated by the ACA, that may be overregulated. AHCA supporters also feel that Americans should be allowed to choose the benefits they want and the same plans should not be mandated across the board.
If the bill is passed by the Senate, only time will tell whether the new AHCA will be a help or a hindrance to America’s health.