By Yanay Rosen (Online Editor-in-Chief).
House Republicans unveiled their replacement for the Affordable Care Act that they have been battling for years Monday afternoon. At four in the morning on Thursday the bill was approved by the House Ways and Means committee, bringing it closer to a full vote before the April recess.
After the Affordable Care Act, or ‘Obamacare,’ passed in 2010, Republicans held 52 votes to repeal it, failing every time. President Donald Trump, as well as many of his fellow Republican candidates, ran on platforms of repealing the act.
Following the 2016 elections, Republicans gained control of both branches of Congress and the White House, securing the power needed to repeal the act.
The White House released a statement announcing the new legislation. “Today marks an important step toward restoring healthcare choices and affordability back to the American people.”
House Ways and Means committee chairman Kevin Brady says the new bill helps Americans. “Our legislation transfers power from Washington back to the American people,” he said.
While the new bill, dubbed ‘Trumpcare’ on Twitter, keeps some aspects of Obamacare, such as maintaining coverage for Pre-existing conditions, it does replace many of its most important pieces. Trumpcare eliminates Obamacare taxes, subsidies, and individual and employer mandate penalties.
Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer is opposed to the new bill. “Trumpcare doesn’t replace the Affordable Care Act, it forces millions of Americans to pay more for less care,” he said.
Trumpcare also bars Medicaid from funding Planned Parenthood services. While Planned Parenthood is already barred from paying for abortions, it does provide family planning, birth control and cancer screenings for lower income citizens.
Obamacare premiums have risen dramatically in many areas of the country. Premiums are expected to raise an average of 25% in 2017, and in some places much higher. Rates in Arizona jumped 116% in 2017.
The new bill, if passed, would allow insurance companies to sell across state lines, increasing competition among insurers and lowering prices. Currently, 1 in 5 Americans has access to only one insurance provider based on their location. When a company holds a regional monopoly they can raise prices, hurting consumers.
Democratic senator Tim Kaine, former running mate of Hillary Clinton, says Republicans have failed to compile a reasonable plan. “[It] will reduce the number of Americans with health insurance and raise health care costs for patients. Republicans had seven years to pull together a plan, and now they insist on rushing to pass a bill without taking the time to analyze the cost and impact on the American people,” he said.
President Trump says prices will decrease. “I am working on a new system where there will be competition in the Drug Industry. Pricing for the American people will come way down!” he tweeted.