President Trump earlier this week stated that he still wants to reform healthcare in America, even though Congress – with its Republican majority – failed to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) last month. According to Trump, he wants to finish healthcare reform before shifting to tax reform and working on infrastructure.
However, this approach is not feasible as the House Republican health care bill – the American Health Care Act (AHCA) – is not fixable. Almost every piece of the bill would cause people to lose coverage, make coverage less affordable or less comprehensive, or cut taxes for high-income people. The fact that the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated the AHCA would cause 24 million people to lose coverage by 2026 says a lot. House Republicans are reportedly considering making the bill worse by rolling back additional ACA rules that currently protect 134 million people with pre-existing conditions and require plans to offer comprehensive coverage.
The proposed health care bill would mean more uninsured and costlier coverage in North Carolina. According to a recent report by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities:
- The Proposed Plan Would Shift $6 Billion in Medicaid Costs to North Carolina — And Result in Thousands Losing Coverage and Access to Services
North Carolina would have to raise taxes or cut other parts of its budget by $6 billion over ten years to maintain North Carolina Medicaid under the House Republican health plan.
- The Plan Would Raise Costs for North Carolinians Buying Marketplace Coverage by $7,549, on Average
North Carolinians, especially older residents, would pay far more under the House bill. The bill would raise total out-of-pocket health costs – premiums, deductibles, copays, and coinsurance – by an average of $7,549 per year for people with coverage in North Carolina’s health insurance marketplace. County-by-county data showing how North Carolinians would face higher premiums and lower tax credits can be found here.
- Wealthiest North Carolinians Would Get Windfall Tax Cuts While Medicaid Is Cut and Medicare Is Put at Risk
The House bill would spend more than $600 billion on tax cuts largely for high-income households and drug companies, insurance companies, and other large corporations. In particular, it would repeal the ACA’s two Medicare taxes, which only affect people with incomes above $200,000 ($250,000 for married filers).
Overall, the House proposal is fundamentally flawed because it shifts costs to low- and moderate-income consumers and the states while giving massive tax cuts to people at the top. Removing key consumer protections would only make a bad bill even worse for North Carolinians.