Though the bill replacing the Affordable Care Act is dressed up like a healthcare bill, in reality, it’s just a tax cut for America’s wealthiest. The wealthiest taxpayers in America, who earn more than $200,000 per year, would get tax cuts totaling $346 billion within the next 10 years. In the meantime, the bill will reduce healthcare funding for about 23 million working, middle-class, and disabled Americans.
Donald Trump, Paul Ryan, and Mitch McConnell are also trying to cut Medicaid, the healthcare program for the disabled, elderly, and poor. The bill would save $400 billion on Medicaid, and the money would go to America’s richest individuals and largest corporations. The richest people in the country are currently receiving the largest percentage of America’s total income since the late 1800s.
This transfer of money is hidden inside of the Senate bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act. At first glance, it appears that the bill will keep the ACA’s subsidies for poorer individuals and families. However, by 2020, the subsidies will stop being available to many of the people who currently benefit from them. The bill also appears to keep the ACA’s Medicaid expansion, but the expansion will start being phased out in 2021.
The main component to the bill seems to be the reduction in Medicaid. With this bill, states will receive money for every Medicaid recipient. The amount of money per recipient will grow as healthcare costs increase. By 2025, the payments will vary depending on how overall costs rise in the economy. However, healthcare costs are increasing at a faster rate than overall costs, and this will continue as the elderly population grows. After 2025, the money paid to the states for Medicaid will not be able to provide the same amount of coverage, and coverage will shrink.
The Urban Institute has estimated that more than $450 billion less will be spent on Medicaid between 2025 and 2035 with this plan than if Medicaid funding actually kept up with the rising cost of healthcare. It’s up to the states to make up the difference in funding, but many states won’t want to or won’t have the money to.
Those who support the Senate bill claim that people with preexisting conditions will still be protected. However, the bill gives states permission to reduce coverage for everyone, regardless of their preexisting conditions. This means that insurance companies could get away with reducing coverage for medication, hospital visits, or other healthcare needs that people with preexisting conditions have.
Mitch McConnell seems to intentionally be keeping quiet about the realities of this bill. He hasn’t scheduled any hearings, and he’s ignored hospitals, physician groups, and national organizations. Many Americans, especially in the middle and lower classes, support Medicaid and the ACA. For McConnell to be successful in unraveling these programs, he has to be secretive. If he is successful, it could prevent many Americans from getting the healthcare coverage they need.