If the Senate’s draft healthcare bill, unveiled last week, is passed, will make great changes to healthcare access in America. Though it is expected to result in a slightly lower number of Americans being left uninsured than the House’s version, which would reportedly lead to roughly 24 million more Americans uninsured by 2026, and will therefore result in lower cost savings, its impact on how people are treated and how healthcare in the country operates will still be significant. Here are some of the expected results that passing this bill and repealing the Affordable Care Act will have on America’s healthcare industry:
1. It will end the legal mandate that most Americans have health insurance: 23 million more Americans will be uninsured by 2026 under the Senate’s bill. This will consist of both people who choose not to purchase health insurance after the individual mandate of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is repealed in 2018, as well as people who no longer qualify or have access to health insurance due to pre-existing conditions or other reasons.
2. Older and low-income people will become more vulnerable: The majority of those uninsured will be low-income and from older generations, according to a report from the Congressional Budget Office. Says the CBO, “Under this legislation, starting in 2020, the premium for a silver plan would typically be a relatively high percentage of income for low-income people … As a result, despite being eligible for premium tax credits, few low-income people would purchase any plan.” For many, this will be a significant change from coverage and affordability under the Affordable Care Act.
3. Costs will rise, especially for those with pre-existing conditions: The CBO predicts that premiums will be approximately 10% higher under this bill than they were under the Affordable Care Act. Though average premiums would drop to about 30% lower than under Obamacare, the CBO says that this won’t be a good thing—it will be a result of insurance plans becoming less comprehensive and providing less coverage. This will cause people to have to pay more out-of-pocket costs for healthcare.
4. Medicaid will undergo deep cuts: It is predicted that the Senate bill will save the federal government USD 321 billion over ten years, but these cost savings will be accomplished largely to severe cuts to Medicaid, putting many Americans who rely on it at risk. The bill would cut Medicaid by more than $770 billion over the next ten years.
5. Planned Parenthood will be blocked from all funding: This will save the federal government roughly USD 22 billion, but at the cost of cutting funding for important women’s health services and diagnostics, including Pap smears and cancer screenings. It will also cut funding—and, as a result, potentially limit access—to abortion services and STI screenings and treatments. The Affordable Care Act helps to provide healthcare for millions of women across the country, and those with pre-existing conditions that Planned Parenthood can help to treat will be especially impacted by the Senate bill.
The Senate is set to vote on the bill after the July 4th holiday in the States, so the future of the Affordable Care Act and America’s healthcare industry will remain uncertain until then. Democrats have broadly criticized the bill, which is largely Republican-supported. At a press conference, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said that the bill carries “a staggering human cost.”
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