Last month the first version of the Republican repeal-and-replace alternative for Obamacare died, mostly due to it’s enormous unpopularity with voters and horrid projected effects on the healthcare industry. A major faction against the bill initially was the Freedom Caucus, a caucus of right wing conservatives and libertarians who mostly came to rise during the Tea Party Movement. The main complaint from the Freedom Caucus wasn’t that the bill deregulated the healthcare market too much, instead they opposed the Republicare bill because it deregulated healthcare too little.
Since the death of Republicare in March, Trump has entered into talks with the Freedom Caucus to design another repeal-and-replace bill with significant changes from the first version to gain the Freedom Caucus’ support. Now, reports on the bill and its contents are released to the press- and from initial reports, the bill features the deregulatory components of Republicare 1.0 except on steroids.
First, the bill will remove the Obamacare provision that prevents insurance companies from discriminating against Americans with pre-existing conditions. The provision is very popular with Americans, which is why one of the main Republican talking points during their replace bill fiasco last month was that the provision will remain in their replacement bill.
Now, that seems to be changing. Heavy pressure from the influential Freedom Caucus is forcing Republicare 2.0 to become even more deregulatory, under the new bill being formulated they will give states the ability to remove the provision preventing insurance companies within their state from discriminating against those with pre-existing conditions. So, if you’re born with an expensive disability or get cancer while uninsured, insurance companies will be allowed to refuse to cover you and you’ll have to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in chemotherapy bills.
Next, the bill will allow states to remove the Obamacare provision forcing insurance companies to have a baseline level of healthcare services with every plan they offer, called “Essential Health Benefits.” If Essential Health Benefits are repealed, then the worth of a health insurance policy greatly reduces- if you get cancer while insured, you might be in the same boat as the uninsured since chemotherapy will be removed as a baseline healthcare coverage.
There’s also rumblings that the bill will remove the Obamacare provision forcing insurance companies to charge the same price to everyone within an age group, called Community Rating. Without Community Rating, insurance companies will be able to charge the chronically sick as much as they want- so if you have cancer, you’ll only be able to find a plan that will not cover chemotherapy and you’ll be charged thousands more than you were under Obamacare.
If the finalized Republicare 2.0 bill includes the repeal of all these provisions, the health care industry will be absolutely gutted. If you’re lucky enough to be healthy till the day you die, you’ll be charged very little in your premiums- but if you’re like the majority of Americans who will experience a medical emergency once in your life or possibly become chronically sick, the idea of an insurance that’ll cover your health care needs ‘just in case’ is gone. Healthcare plans will cover very few actual healthcare needs, especially for those who cannot afford to pay for premium healthcare plans.
Under Republicare, we’ll be right back to 2007, a healthcare wasteland where the sick and poor were left to die.
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