On Thurs. May 4, House Republicans passed the American Health Care Act (AHCA), a series of reforms designed to replace the Affordable Care Act with President Trump’s proposed healthcare reforms.
Its passage will likely affect millions of Americans, so here’s what you need to know about the American Health Care Act:
It’s Unlikely to Pass in the Senate.
Although the bill passed in the House, the Senate is another story. Republicans still hold a majority, but some Republican senators are more moderate than their House counterparts, according to the Washington Post.
Also, there’s a smaller pool of votes to draw from in the Senate. According to the New York Times, the GOP holds 52 seats in the Senate. That means Republicans can only lose 2 votes.
But the difficulties faced by GOP congressmen aren’t for lack of trying. Mitch McConnell, the Senate’s majority leader, has formed a committee composed of staunch proponents and ardent opposers to the AHCA. Members include Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, and McConnell himself, according to the New York Times.
So although the AHCA passed in the House, the Senate won’t necessarily be a walk in the park.
Rape and Domestic Violence are Not Pre-existing Conditions
After the passing of the AHCA, various news outlets, Huffington Post, Independent (UK), New York Magazine (to name a few), ran headlines bashing the AHCA on what they reported were detestable aspects of the bill. They proclaimed that the GOP bill allowed “rape and domestic violence” to be pre-existing conditions, among similar allegations.
These claims, though, are unfounded. The covering of pre-existing conditions pertains to conditions acquired after a certain action occurred, not the action itself, according to the Washington Post. For instance, an injury sustained in a car crash is a pre-existing condition which can be covered by medical insurance. But the car crash itself isn’t.
Injuries sustained from rape and domestic violence, then, are pre-existing conditions. But the acts of rape and domestic violence, like car crashes, are mere actions.
But if such prospects still seem gloomy, said coverage isn’t set in stone. The AHCA does not place an outright ban on said conditions, according to the AHCA statute. It allows states to individually opt out, meaning the issue isn’t necessarily black and white.
Health Care Prices Could Increase for the Elderly
Some of the sickest people in the nation, that is, the elderly, aren’t too pleased about the new bill. Although the bill lowers general premiums, costs are passed on to citizens 50 years or older, according to the Atlantic. That means that the elderly could likely see less coverage and rising prices.
Olga Khazan of the Atlantic explains that “even near-elderly people who have employer-based coverage are at risk because without an employer mandate and with exchange tax credits, some employers will drop their insurance plans. And of course, the employers with the greatest incentive to drop coverage will be those with the most expensive employees to cover—including near-elderly low-wage workers.”