After six years of criticising the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. Obamacare), Republicans finally unveiled their proposal for a replacement. However, the GOP may not like the way people are reacting to the plan on social media.
On Wednesday, House committees will start voting on the 123-page bill called “The American Health Care Act.” Here are some of the features of the new proposal developed by the White House and Senate Republicans:
Major features of Obamacare will be gone. The new plan gets rid of the much criticised fines on those who aren’t insured, though people would be encouraged to keep their coverage by giving insurers the ability to impose a 30% surcharge for those who have gaps in coverage. Additionally, the requirement that insurers cover preventative care will be discontinued.
Some features of Obamacare will be kept. The Medicaid expansion that extended coverage to millions of low-income Americans will continue through January 1, 2020. Additionally, insurers will still not be able to discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions, and young adults will be able to remain on their parents’ plan through the age of 26.
The bill defunds Planned Parenthood. The women’s health organisation won’t be able to receive hundreds of millions of dollars in Medicaid reimbursements, which make up the majority of its federal funding. President Donald Trump reportedly discussed potentially making this deal with the organisation: It could keep funding, so long as it stopped providing abortion services. But Planned Parenthood rejected the offer, with the organisation’s president saying in a statement: "Planned Parenthood is proud to provide abortion — a necessary service that's as vital to our mission as birth control or cancer screenings.”
It’s not clear how the package will be funded. The section that addresses funding on the proposal’s website explains: “We are still discussing details, but we are committed to repealing Obamacare and replacing it with fiscally responsible policies that restore the free market and protect taxpayers.”
The package is expected to leave more citizens uninsured. The new plan will likely cover fewer than the 20 million who were insured with Obamacare, according to The Associated Press. That may hurt its chances of being passed. Four key Republican senators said they would be against a plan that would leave millions of people high and dry, The Washington Post reported. And with only 52 Republicans, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) “would not have enough votes to pass repeal without the support of at least two of them.”
People on social media reacted to the proposal with a meme that suggests that The American Health Care Act looks like a worse version of Obamacare.