Dude, Where’s My Healthcare?
You’ve seen the family fights; the scathing memes, the ridiculous rumors. I’m sure you’re all well acquainted with the mass hysteria that is the 2016 election. But what does it all mean in the long run? So far the biggest and fastest changes have been made in the realm of healthcare. Republicans are already preparing to repeal Obama Care/Affordable Care Act, which is going to affect the healthcare of millions of Americans. Here is what you can expect if it succeeds:
1.) Yeah. We’re gonna need healthcare back from about 32 million of you.
I don’t care who your favorite sports team is or who you voted for. You still might lose your healthcare regardless of what side of the aisle you’re on. In fact, according to a report from the non partisan Congressional Budget Office 18 million American’s could loose their healthcare in the first year alone with that number growing to as much as 32 million in the first decade. If congressional Republicans go with their original plans from 2015 without an alternative, insurance premiums will also double causing even more people to loose their coverage. These numbers mainly affecting the middle class or poor.
Now let’s clear this up. The ACA (Obamacare) raised the number of insured Americans by over 20 million from just 2010 to 2016. How? The law offered subsidies (aka sums of money) from the government to aid local industries in helping pay for American’s with lower incomes’ insurance premiums and deductibles.
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Wait. What? Aren’t you going to be able to afford insurance again? Remember those magical days when you stayed uninsured until something horrible happened and then instantly entered debt when you inevitably lost the gamble? *hums “Welcome Back Kotter” theme song* Welcome back…welcome back…welcome back.
Go ahead and become a freelancer or open that small business, just don’t get cancer. No seriously. You cannot afford cancer. Cancer is incredibly expensive. You will become a huge burden on your family with many losing their homes, cars and other hard earned investments in life just because they were stupid enough to, yup, say it with me now, to get cancer.
2.) An estimated 12.9 million of you will be kicked off of Medicaid.
So, isn’t Medicaid just for disabled people and grandmas? Nah dude. People often confuse Medicaid with medicare.
The medicare interactive site explains “Medicare is a federal program that provides health coverage if you are 65 or older or have a severe disability, no matter your income. Medicaid is a state and federal program that provides health coverage if you have a very low income.”
It is not as easy for politicians to mess with Medicare because it’s hard to look past the evil of punishing someone for their genetics or age. Medicaid is for poor people. Not just like, ‘ew get a job’ poor people but say, ‘single mother working 3 jobs to raise 4 kids’ or ‘giant factory closure in a town where that factory was one of the only sources of employment’ poor people.
The ACA put a lot of Medicaid refinements in state’s hands, so republican states will not feel this one as much since their representative’s most likely prevented them from seeing those benefits in the first place. But say you’re from a more liberal state like NY or CA, remember how all of a sudden you could finally go to the dentist or get that cyst checked out? Medicaid goes to single people earning 16 grand or less or $33,000 for a family of four (I know, put that Franzia on ice!)
This movement is trying to eliminate funding for such an expansion aka, cancel it.
So far the replacement part of this hasn’t gone much further than leaving everything more up to state’s and their own private budgets to reduce future federal spending.
Yeah, so they haven’t figured out much yet except they want a tax cut for the wealthy. Why should someone born into money contribute to someone born with none’s survival? I mean we’re no fascists! Just really greedy and selfish. That sounds better right?
3.) People With Chronic Illnesses will be given statewide subsidies rather than guaranteed coverage.
While the ACA made sure your child could stay under your coverage until age 26, i.e. when the average person hopefully finds employment after college; the age will likely be lowered back to 18 or 24.
This is again a super shady tactic. Basically, they’re continually leaving things up to state governments, most of which cannot afford to help their citizens as it is. Ironically, the red states that voted republican will probably see the most loss since they tend to have the least money.
The ACA provided multiple consumer protections for the entire country. Let’s go over some of the more important ones aside from chronic illness limits and expanded coverage:
- A ban on setting a lifetime limit on how much an insurer has to cover someone Your money’s up. You’ve survived your illness too long. Just die already, your life isn’t worth this much money, bro.
- A requirement that insurers offer a minimum package of benefits even if you’re so sick it’s going to cost them a pretty penny, yuh dick
- Limits on insurer’s charging older people more than younger people remember when everyone was freaking out about Obamacare killing grandmas? Yea well, getting rid of this source of consumer protection is probably the closest we’ll ever actually come to that
- A cap on insurance company profits so hopefully you’re seen as a human, not just a dollar sign
- Promised preventative health services to those who usually can’t afford them. Preventative healthcare saves as much money as it does lives. What costs more? A cancer scan or stage 5 lymphoma?
Lucky for us, most of these rules can’t be changed that easily. We simply don’t have the budget for it. But eliminating things like subsidies leaves allot up to the insurance companies who are in the position to force things along much more quickly than the government is. This could and most likely will, create turmoil in insurance markets because sick customers have a stronger incentive to stay covered even if said premiums rise; an incentive such as not dying, for instance.
Wait. What? Remember welcome back Kotter and the health gambling? Well, it turns out some people are already sick. Weird, right? As much as the Republicans have to please their lobbyists, they don’t want to piss their voters off either. The result? They now have their Trump card; literally. No more shutting down the government for 8 days over such massive and contentious change because wow, people just love those red hats!
They claim this creates tax incentives to stay healthy, but that doesn’t make sense when they’re putting massive cuts on preventative care. Basically, I don’t think they’re sure how much they can get away with yet. This is a wait and see how hard they can fuck you situation. The President-Elect isn’t going to take responsibility for this because well, you’re going feel it, and you are going to feel it hard. However, he’s not going to veto it the way Obama did either. Again, after 8 years of stonewalling almost every measure suggested by the Democrats; Republicans have finally found their Trump card.
4.) Tax Cuts for those with higher incomes, prescription drug, medical device and insurance companies; all with no real plan yet on how to cover resulting deficits.
OK, so how are we going to pay for all of this? Change takes money. While the ACA put more responsibility on employers, people with high incomes and the insurance companies themselves, so far all Repeal and Replace has come up with is raising taxes, premiums and deductibles for workers.
So yes, you did the right thing. You got a cushy yet grueling government job; let’s say corrections officer or even DMV employee. You get insurance for your family through said job. That is one of the reasons you put up with such demanding work, right? Well, we’re going to need some of that back. Yes, even if you get insurance from your employer, you will be affected.
While none of this has been passed yet except the blueprints (at 1 am during a media blackout); Republicans are not trying to piss off their voters either. I think they’re smart enough to know that Golden Calf Man or not, cutting Joe Smith’s daughter’s health insurance right before she gets braces isn’t likely to make him happy. If they decide to go the route they’ve proposed, it will both be interesting and scary to see how far party loyalty has come.
Again, I do not care if you loved Reagan and Bush. Hell, I love the punk scenes they created and most definitely do not consider myself a democrat let alone a liberal. I still think you should be able to afford basic healthcare and I hope you think I should be able to afford mine.
5.) Some of the smaller changes we may loose along with the ACA:
- Extended therapy for children with Autism. Yea I know, whatever. Those pesky autistic kids had it coming anyway.
- A woman’s right to choose her own OBGYN I can only afford Kurt. That dude who works out of his van in the Taco Bell parking lot.
- Calorie counts at fast food and chain restaurants keep America gross!
- Limits on surprise bills from the ER. Remember when we took that splinter out of your child’s foot 4 years ago? 13 grand, please.
- Private breast milk pumping spaces in offices Statistically we are the modern country with the worst laws for new parent bonding and at this point even pumping milk so you can go back to work early will be penalized. You know what just don’t have babies but also don’t have abortions or access to birth control. Yea, I don’t know how either. You’re an American, figure it out.
- Community health support from local hospitals The ACA passed a law that made local hospitals responsible for explaining what they did to deserve millions in tax exemptions. This created a huge incentive for more community outreach and the development of strategies that better support whatever communities they serve but if you think your hospital needs a Starbucks in the cafeteria more…you do you bruh.
We are the only modern country in the world that does not offer universal healthcare, and yet we claim to be the most progressive. How humiliating.