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April 2017  Volume 15, Number 4        

health benefits

President Trump and House GOP Introduce Obamacare Replacement Plan


Republicans Withdraw American Health Care Act

The American Health Care Act of 2017 was withdrawn by Republicans from the House on March 24, 2017 for lack of sufficient votes. However, even though the bill is moot at this point, the underlying issues, problems and possible solutions associated with the bill are still valid and significant, which is why we have left the following article as is and unedited.

Fulfilling promises to repeal and replace Obamacare, President Trump and House Republicans introduced the American Health Care Act in mid-March. As details emerged, opposition from medical professionals and others grew amid concerns the AHCA would increase the number of uninsured and destabilize insurance markets.

President Donald Trump and House Republicans moved forward in mid-March with a plan to repeal and replace Obamacare with the American Health Care Act — generating mounting opposition from medical professionals and others.

“Seven years ago this month, Obamacare was signed into law over the profound objections of the American people,” President Trump said in his weekly address to the nation. “Our citizens were told they would have to pass Obamacare to find out what it was and how bad it was. “Now we know that the hundreds of pages were full of broken promises. And this is why we must repeal and replace Obamacare — to deliver relief to American workers, families, and small businesses, who right now are being crushed by Obamacare, by increasing freedom, choice, and opportunity for the American people.”

Under the proposed House legislation, people would no longer be subject to a penalty if they go without health insurance, but they would still enjoy protections of the Affordable Care Act. Insurers would need to offer essential health benefits and could not deny individuals coverage because of pre-existing conditions and could not impose annual or lifetime caps on coverage.

Insurers would be free to raise premiums to meet these requirements, but people would not experience the effects until 2018 because their current policies are locked in for a year.

AHCA Opposition Grows

The bill has garnered opposition from doctors, hospitals, insurers and others who say it would increase the number of uninsured and destabilize insurance markets. Medical professionals say many people would lose health coverage.

“We believe that any changes to the ACA must be guided by ensuring that we continue to provide health care coverage for the tens of millions of Americans who have benefited from the law,” Rick Pollack, president and chief executive officer of the American Hospital Association, said in a statement.

“We are pleased that so many in Congress also recognize the need to preserve patient coverage. We believe the legislation needs to be reviewed through this lens, and carefully evaluated regarding its impact on both individuals and the ability of hospitals and health systems, which are the backbone of the nation’s healthcare safety net.”

Trump urged Congress to approve the AHCA and save Americans from the “imploding Obamacare disaster.”

“Premiums have skyrocketed by double-digits and triple-digits in some cases,” Trump said. “As an example, [health care costs in] Arizona [have increased] — 116 percent [...and they are] going up a lot higher. […This year] would be a disaster for Obamacare. That’s the year it was meant to explode, because Obama won’t be here.…As bad as it is now, it’ll get even worse. Choices are disappearing as one insurer drops out after another. Today, one-third of all counties now have only one insurer on the Obamacare exchanges, and the exchanges themselves are a disaster.”

The AHCA ends the Obamacare tax hikes, cutting taxes by hundreds of billions of dollars, Trump said. “It provides states with flexibility over how Medicaid dollars are spent, [transferring] power from Washington and back to local government, which we all want to see,” Trump said. “We’re going to do a much better job. And the plan empowers individual Americans to buy the health insurance that is right for them, not the plan forced on them by government. You all remember, you can keep your doctor, you can keep your plan. This is the time we’re going to get it done.”

What the AHCA Would Do

A House GOP document said this is what the AHCA would do:

Deliver Relief – The AHCA would dismantle the Obamacare taxes that have hurt job creators, increased premium costs, and limited options for patients and health providers, including taxes on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, health-insurance premiums, and medical devices. It also would eliminate the individual and employer mandate penalties, which forced millions of workers, families and job creators into expensive, inadequate Obamacare plans that they don’t want and cannot afford.

Preserves Vital Patient Protections – The legislation prohibits health insurers from denying coverage or charging more money to patients based on pre-existing conditions. It would help young adults access health insurance and stabilize the marketplace by allowing dependents to continue staying on their parents’ plan until they are 26.

President Trump Reforms – President Trump’s reforms would establish a Patient and State Stability Fund, which provides states with $100 billion to design programs that meet the unique needs of their patient populations and help low-income Americans afford health insurance. It would modernize and strengthen Medicaid by transitioning to a “per capita allotment,” so states can better serve the patients most in need. It would also empower individuals and families to spend their healthcare dollars the way they want and need by enhancing and expanding Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) — nearly doubling the amount of money people can contribute and broadening how people can use it. Further, these reforms would help Americans access affordable, quality healthcare by providing a monthly tax credit — between $2,000 and $14,000 a year — for low- and middle-income individuals and families who don’t receive insurance through work or a government program.

We’ll try to keep you updated on the ACA, AHCA and other healthcare proposals as they are proposed and debated in Washington.

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In this issue:

This Just In...

President Trump and House GOP Introduce Obamacare Replacement Plan

Millennials Driving Growth of Health Savings Accounts

Employees Overwhelmed by Complex Health Options

Pension Plan Decline Prompts Interest in Annuities



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