By INDIRA MOOSAI
On Monday, March 13, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) announced the Republican Party’s proposed plan to replace Obama’s Affordable Care Act (ACA), and updates were made on March 20. This new healthcare plan, which they call the American Health Care Act, is facing extreme criticism from the majority of Capitol Hill. The original proposed plan would save $337 billion, but would leave a whopping 24 million people uninsured.
The health care plan stated that premiums for buying health insurance would rise 15 to 20 percent in the years 2018 and 2019, but then premiums would gradually decrease in 2020. Initially, the plan cut significant funding to Medicaid, healthcare that covers low-income Americans. To gain support from both conservatives and moderates, the plan was updated so that states can require those with Medicaid without dependents to work beginning in October; they would then, as a reward, get a funding boost, according to USA Today.
With the original plan, the CBO estimated that the original plan would leave 24 million people uninsured. Even with the updates, senior vice president of the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation Larry Levitt tweeted, “I’m stating the obvious here, but the AHCA amendments are unlikely to change by much CBO’s estimate of 24 million more people uninsured.”
The amount of people it would leave uninsured sounds a little ridiculous, considering the importance of healthcare in citizens’ lives. Compared to international counterparts, fewer residents in the US are covered despite paying more for coverage, according to The Commonwealth Fund. Of course, this goes against President Trump’s promise that he would provide healthcare for everyone.
In an interview with The Washington Post the weekend of Jan. 15, Trump said, “We’re going to have insurance for everybody. There was a philosophy in some circles that if you can’t pay for it, you don’t get it. That’s not going to happen with us.”
Unfortunately, his words don’t always match up with his actions. Under his plan, not everyone will be, as he said in the Washington Post interview, “beautifully covered.” 24 million more people uninsured is definitely not everyone.
It is clear that this plan is not very intelligent in the first place. The bad outweighs the good, and people can truthfully die because of it. However, since Trump made this promise to produce a plan very different to Obamacare, which garnered him many votes, they must produce a plan. Fast. And, to republicans, it is of the utmost importance they make sure the plan is as different as possible from Obamacare. After all, USA Today stated that the recent changes were made particularly because conservative members were disappointed that the original bill didn’t go far enough to replace Obamacare – it was still too similar.
What I have to say to that is — it is OK to turn back. It is ok to suck it up and do what is best for the country, rather than make decisions specifically to oppose a previous president’s platform. Even though the ACA was controversial, it did good for the people of America; according to BBC, though people called it a “job killer,” jobs in the healthcare sector actually rose by nine percent after the implementation of Obamacare. The number of uninsured citizens declined drastically as well. The ACA was not perfect, but in reality, no plan can be perfect. For change to occur, sacrifices must be made on some end. However, plans can be targeted towards a certain cause. As stated in Obamacare Facts, Obamacare’s main focus is to provide “more Americans with access to affordable health insurance, improving the quality of health care and health insurance, regulating the health insurance industry, and reducing health care spending in the US.” According to the statistics referenced previously, it was very effective. The problem was that Trump promised too much without having the necessary provisions to follow through. Now, the Republicans have no choice but to give the people what they want: a real, comprehensive healthcare plan.
The newly proposed plan is bad, and it should not be implemented. Though promises are promises, helping the country should be priority — pride can truly be one’s worst enemy.
Indira Moosai can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org