Republicans are slowly fulfilling their goal to replace Obamacare. After secretly meeting and discussing the ideas and changes that would take place for healthcare, the Senate finally revealed what was so top secret.
As if everything set already about rich and poor, this new bill capitalizes on that very concept.
- The wealthy would pay less in taxes. Just as in the House bill, the Senate legislation would eliminate two taxes that Obamacare levied on the wealthy to help pay for the law. Under the Affordable Care Act, single taxpayers with incomes above $200,000 and couples making more than $250,000 annually have to pay an additional 0.9% Medicare payroll tax on the amount they earn above these thresholds. These taxpayers may also be hit with a tax surcharge of 3.8% on investment income above those thresholds. These levies would disappear in 2023 and 2017, respectively.
The Bill would also allow people to contribute more to Health Savings Accounts, which are primarily used by Americans who are better off and can afford to sock money away for health care expenses.. and not everyone is able to do that.
Now, let’s look at who will be affected negatively:
- Many Obamacare enrollees will pay more out-of-pocket for health care services.
There are several measures in the Senate bill that would increase deductibles and co-pays for many Obamacare policyholders.
The Senate bill does provide $62 billion in state grants to lower premiums and out-of-pocket costs for Obamacare enrollees, particularly those who are sick. But experts say the money wouldn’t go very far.
- Lower-income Americans could be left uninsured.
About 11 million Americans gained coverage under Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion provision. The Senate bill would eliminate the enhanced federalfunding for the program by 2024. While that extends Medicaid expansion’s life for a few years longer than the House bill, the end result is the same: Low-income adults would likely be kicked off therolls.
As if that isn’t enough headache, lawmakers would also limit federal support for the overall Medicaid program, which covers more than 70 million low-income children, parents, elderly and disabled Americans.
States don’t have the resources to make up the difference, so they would likely reduce eligibility, curtail benefits or cut provider payments.
All this would likely leave poor Americans either without coverage or with plans that cover fewer services. It may also make it harder to see a doctor since fewer physicians may be willing to take a pay cut to see Medicaid patients.
- Older enrollees would see premiums soar.
Americans in their 50s and early 60s benefited from Obamacare because insurers could only charge them three times more than younger policyholders. The bill would widen that band to five-to-one.
That would mean that adults ages 60 to 64 would see their annual premiums soar 22% to nearly $18,000, according to the Milliman study for the AARP. Those in their 50s would be hit with a 13% increase and pay an annual premium of $12,800.
What’s more, the Senate Bill would provide less generous subsidies to older folks who are eligible for assistance. Those in their early 60s would have to pay up to 16.2% of their income towards coverage, compared to a maximum of 6.4% for 20-somethings.
- Fewer middle class Americans would qualify for subsidies.
The Senate bill would tighten the eligibility criteria for premium subsidies starting in 2020, shutting out more middle class folks from government help.
Only those earning up to 350% of the poverty level ($41,600 in 2017) would qualify, rather than the 400% threshold ($47,500 in 2017) contained in Obamacare.
- Those with pre-existing conditions or opioid addictions may receive fewer covered services. Under Obamacare, insurers must provide 10 essential health benefits, including maternity, mental health, substance abuse and prescription drugs. The Senate bill would allow states to seek waivers of this provision, opening the door for insurers to offer less comprehensive policies.
This means those with pre-existing conditions may not be able to buy plans that cover all of their treatments and care.
Here’s what’s being said about the Senates Bill:
U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, Vermont Democrat:
“For weeks, Republicans have been drafting their ‘health care’ bill in secret, refusing to hold hearings or public debate. Now we know why. The bill Republicans announced today is even worse than expected and by far the most harmful piece of legislation I have seen in my lifetime.”
“This bill has nothing to do with health care. It has everything to do with an enormous transfer of wealth from working people to the richest Americans,” Bernie Sanders said.
U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, Niles-area Democrat:
This bill will have devastating consequences for hard working families, the elderly, and the sick. It is an absolute betrayal of everything we stand for as Americans. Senate Republicans’ message to the American people? Tax cuts for the wealthiest among us take precedent over your affordable care. They took a House bill that that didn’t reduce the cost of premiums, that didn’t expand health coverage for all, that didn’t protect people with pre-existing conditions and that nobody liked, and nobody wanted, and doubled down on it.”
U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur, Toledo Democrat:
“Health care is about life and death. Now that we have a draft bill from the Senate, we know that Medicaid coverage will be heavily cut back. These are lifeline cuts to vital care and services for our children, seniors, those suffering from opioid addiction as well as the disabled and mentally ill. Americans should rise up in resounding protest from coast to coast. Caring for the most fragile and ill among us cannot be left to chance. Is not life itself a right of citizenship in our great nation?
Sounds to me like the rich are continuously passing laws to keep money circulating within their wealthy circle.