Obamacare Explained: What’s Being Appealed, How It Affects You

If you haven’t heard about it, you’ve probably been living under a rock. 
For the last five years the Affordable Health Care Act has remained a hot topic amongst Americans and Lawmakers. According to the people that wrote the law, it was supposed to make healthcare affordable for everyone. Others argue that it will only add to the United States piling debt, while, at the same time, devaluing state and individual rights.
So, what does this healthcare law mean? Why are Republicans trying to appeal it? And what does it matter to people in New Orleans.
 
The Law
While the initial legislation for the Affordable Health Care Act—Obamacare—spans several pages, the legislation can be broken down into three different provisions.
According to the law, the law expands Medicaid in states. In the legislation, the Federal Government promised states around 93 percent of the funding if they expand Medicaid within their borders. Lawmakers hoped this push would cover more low-income residents over the coming years. 
Second, the law created the first internet exchange market of health insurance offerings. Visiting a site like healthcare.gov, gives individuals a tool to compare and evaluate different healthcare benefits. The tool even ranks health insurances based on what they cover, which ensures the consumer gets the best deal for their buck.
Third, the most debated portion of the law: all Americans are required to have health insurances. Those who did not enroll in a health insurance company are penalized by the Federal Government with increasing fines.
There are also other big factors, such as preventing insurance companies from discriminating against sick patients by making them pay higher premiums; preventing insurance companies from setting an annual limit on how much money can be expended for healthcare needs; and making healthcare subsidies available for middle-income Americans.
 
Why is there an individual mandate? 
Many legislators argue that the American people should be free to make the choice to get health insurance, and that this act infringes on that right. The mandate, however, was created to make insurance cheaper.
Because healthy people have a tendency not to buy health insurance and sick people do, the United States was headed into a sick-only health insurance crisis. If too many people are using health insurances, premiums rise, making health insurance unaffordable for those who need it. Requiring all people to get health insurance could, potentially, lower premiums because there would ideally be more people paying in and paying out.
However, that individual mandate doesn’t apply for individuals that have religious or cultural exemptions.
 
So, everyone is covered?
Currently, despite pushing legislation for the past seven years not everyone is covered. The growing undocumented immigrant population in the United States are not covered under the legislation; several states have refused to expand Medicaid which leaves out millions of low-income Americans; and some people have refused to sign up for health insurance and absorb the penalty.
Right now, 51 million people stand without health insurance.
 
Medicaid Expansion in Louisiana 
According to the Office of the Mayor, over 575,000 people enrolled in health insurance, thanks to Obamacare. Of those 575,000, nearly 70,000 have found coverage, with most of them enrolled in the expanded Medicaid Program. 
“It should scare every American that the Senate plans to vote on this bill without understanding the true ramifications,” said Mayor Landrieu in an official release this past June.
“What we do know is that, in Louisiana, the bill would kill the expansion of Medicaid that has brought health care to more than 425,000 residents—with 51,000 of those people living right here in New Orleans. The proposed bill will take Louisiana back to the days when an ear infection meant a mother loses her job because she waited hours in an emergency room with her sick child.”
 
Current Statistics 
This past May the Congressional Budget Office released statistics on the American Healthcare Act in 2017. Over the next 10 years, between 2017 and 2026, the CBO projects the United States will save $119 million in healthcare cost. The cost reduction would come from reducing Medicaid expense by the Federal Government, and enrolling more people into subsidized and Medicaid Healthcare Plans.
By 2027, the CBO projects there to be 28 million Americans without Health Insurance, compared to the 51 million in 2017 that do not have coverage.
 
So, what’s there to dislike about the plan?
Many conservative legislators believe that the legislation will worsen the United States debt and will impinge on state and individual rights. 
For starters, the United States is projected to spend $1 trillion on healthcare coverage over the next 10 years. Many lawmakers don’t believe the country can sustain covering funding for increased Medicaid operations and covering subsidies for middle-class Americans.
Other conservatives vouch for small businesses. If a business has a full-time employee eligible for benefits, and the benefits are not supplied, that company can be fined up to $2,000. For many small businesses, that cost could prove to be difficult to absorb.
Lastly, for rural and smaller markets, there are not many health insurance providers. So, in cases where individuals are required to purchase health insurances, they have to budget for increased premiums, depending the healthcare usage.
 
So, what would be appealed
Conservative senators are gathering now to appeal the act. Recently, lawmakers released a 142-page draft of the legislation that opted to remove individual mandate, reduce funding for Medicaid expansion; end funding for Medicaid expansion by 2026; and to reduce healthcare subsidies for middle-class Americans.
However, preventing insurance companies from discriminating based on preexisting conditions continues to remain part of the plan. 
President Donald Trump tweeted last week that if the Senate could not vote on a healthcare bill by July 10, he will urge Congress to terminate the bill altogether.

 

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