WASHINGTON, D.C. – Earlier this week, House Republicans released the American Health Care Act (AHCA), a draft bill which would repeal and replace President Obama’s Affordable Care Act (ACA). The AHCA would reduce the government’s role in healthcare.
“The GOP draft bill would ultimately mean that people would have less coverage and be shouldered with higher costs while providing a considerable tax break to billionaires,” said LULAC National President Roger C. Rocha, Jr.
Among the bill’s provisions is the termination of the Medicaid expansion which would leave millions of people without coverage after January 2020. Additionally, Americans would also have to pay a 30 percent surcharge if they allow their health insurance to lapse for more than 63 days. The AHCA also replaces federal insurance subsidies with tax credits which would be based on age rather than income.
The tax credits outlined in the bill are as follows:
- $2,000 for those under 30
- $2,500 for those between 30 and 39
- $3,000 for those between 40 and 49
- $3,500 for those between 50 and 59
- $4,000 for those over 60
“The problem with this bill is that it fails to take into account a family’s income and ability to purchase health coverage,” said Rocha. “An age-based system would allow a billionaire to qualify for the largest tax credit if they are over 60 years old. A billionaire can afford to purchase their own health insurance without government assistance. The same cannot be said of a family trying to make ends meet.”
The new bill allows insurance companies to once again charge more or deny coverage to Americans with pre-existing conditions. In order to qualify for insurance, people with pre-existing conditions are required to have uninterrupted insurance (continuous coverage) in order to be eligible for health insurance coverage.
Women would also suffer greatly under the bill. The AHCA defunds Planned Parenthood by blocking it from receiving federal family planning grants or Medicaid reimbursement – the organization’s primary source of federal funding. Women would also lose access to essential preventative care and affordable contraception.
The legislation would arguably preserve one of the most popular features of the ACA by allowing young adults to stay on their parents’ health plans until age 26.
The Congressional Budget Office has yet to provide an official breakdown of the cost of the bill. LULAC will continue to monitor and weigh in with Congressional offices to ensure that our community does not lose the coverage provided to them under the ACA.
The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) is the nation’s largest and oldest civil rights volunteer-based organization that empowers Hispanic Americans and builds strong Latino communities. Headquartered in Washington, DC, with 1000 councils around the United States and Puerto Rico, LULAC’s programs, services and advocacy address the most important issues for Latinos, meeting critical needs of today and the future. For more information, visit www.lulac.org.