Medicaid expansion linked to better care access, better health

Congressman Dan Newhouse missed the May 4 House vote on the Affordable Health Care Act (AHCA) as he cared for his wife, Carol, during her battle with cancer. All Democrats, as well as 20 Republicans, opposed the bill. The bill will go before the U.S. Senate in the coming days, where it is expected to undergo major changes.

Almost half of Democrats (49 percent) and 40 percent of independents said the bill would let insurers discriminate against sick people.

Uncertainty over the reimbursements and the individual mandate could hike premiums from 8.5 percent to 17 percent, costing each plan member $500 to $1,000 annually, said Sam Berger of the liberal Center for American Progress. As if we needed further proof that the status quo is unsustainable, Aetna recently announced they will join several health insurance providers in fully leaving the Obamacare marketplace.

The Republican replacement plan would enable the Republican-controlled Virginia state legislature to pass legislation creating a high-risk health insurance pool of folks who have pre-existing health problems and who are unable to obtain health insurance from insurance companies.

"A core commitment of mine throughout this process was to ensure those with pre-existing conditions are protected". Before Obamacare was fully implemented in 2014, medical underwriting often led to people with pre-existing conditions being charged more-or denied coverage outright-on the individual market. This bill allows states to waive this requirement. And under the AHCA, pre-existing conditions can result in denial of coverage, significantly higher premiums or a coverage rider excluding coverage for that particular condition. Those residents saved an estimated $360 million collectively through the HealthConnector, the state's health care exchange, according to the Massachusetts Association of Health Plans. Plans could choose not to cover these services.

The House bill would effectively roll back Obamacare's expansion of Medicaid that extended coverage to millions of low-income families.

This comes as numerous other polls have shown the new GOP bill, also called Trumpcare, to be incredibly unpopular. Another 10 million got coverage through the expansion of Medicaid.

According to a report from National Public Radio, the measure would eliminate penalties for failing to buy health insurance. Those with mental health issues, some of our most vulnerable citizens, are likely to be the hardest hit.

After the Affordable Care Act passed, more patients were getting their basic needs met. The analysis notes in states with community rating waivers, people with health conditions would be incentivized to maintain continuous coverage so they could still afford their premiums. "The last thing America needs is another hastily-passed health care law without proper and prudent input from stakeholders across the country".

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