With the GOP health care plan continually undergoing changes and revisions, it’s difficult to know exactly how this proposed legislation might affect your family if it were to be passed and signed into law. Many Americans, both individuals and families, have a lot of questions they’d like answered, and while the specifics may be in flux, there are a few aspects of “Trumpcare” that seem to remain constant.
So with that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the major changes being proposed under Donald Trump’s new health plan.
Changes to Medicaid
Medicaid is the health coverage program provided for low-income individuals and families. Under the Affordable Care Act, federal and state governments split the cost of paying for this health care.
Under Trump’s proposed plan, states would be given a block grant and a per capita cap on Medicaid spending with provision in place for the grant to increase each year to keep up with inflation.
As with many aspects of the bill, it is not yet clear how this will affect people who rely on Medicaid, but it does seem to indicate that fewer people will be covered by this service, meaning that more people will be uninsured.
Changes to the Insurance Mandate
Currently, the Affordable Care Act dictates that a person is required to purchase some form of health insurance, or else pay a tax penalty for opting out. The version of the health care bill being proposed by the Republicans would remove this tax penalty, but would bring a few other coverage mandates into play.
In one version of the bill, anyone who allows their insurance coverage to lapse for six months would have to face a mandatory six-month waiting period before they were able to purchase new coverage. Another version shortens that timeline, stating that anyone who allows their insurance to lapse for two months or more would face the six-month waiting period.
This could be significant for people who are out of work, or who might otherwise have trouble maintaining insurance coverage.
Changes to Women’s Health
Half of the United States population is female, so a significant number of insured people could be affected by the changes outlined in Trump’s proposed health care legislation.
Currently, insurance companies are not permitted to charge women more than men for coverage. This rule would remain in place for the Republican health care bill. However, there is some wording that suggests that states could seek waivers allowing them to deny women basic benefits, such as maternity care and contraception. Whether or not states would actually act on this remains unknown.
While no federal dollars are, at this point in time, used to fund abortions, federal money does go to Planned Parenthood. The Republican bill proposes that no federal dollars go to Planned Parenthood regardless of whether or not this money would be used for abortions.
It is believed that the aforementioned cuts to Medicaid may also seriously impact women on low incomes, but this remains to be seen.
Changes to Guaranteed Coverage
The Affordable Care Act made it illegal for insurance companies to deny coverage to individuals who were sick, or who had what insurance companies determined to be “pre-existing conditions.”
Depending on whether you look at the House or Senate version of the health care bill, the proposed GOP plan may allow insurance companies to charge sick people more for coverage. States may also allow insurance companies to define pre-existing conditions for which they will refuse coverage.
Finally, it appears that insurance companies will be able to discriminate against older people, charging much more for their health insurance than they currently pay, meaning some people could see their premiums shoot up.
Again, none of this proposed legislation has been written into law yet, but it is important that you understand some of the changes which could be coming further down the road.
Remember that Americans are always encouraged to participate in the democratic process by writing to their congresspeople, attending town hall meetings, or seeking out other ways to make their voices and opinions heard.