The battle over healthcare, at least for the moment, is over. The GOP plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, more commonly known as Obamacare, has been resoundingly rejected by Congress from both sides of the aisle. Democrats rejected it because although it would cut an estimated $137 billion from the budget, it would leave an estimated 24 million people without healthcare. More conservative Republicans said that the cuts were not enough.
As a result, House Speaker, Paul Ryan, pulled H.R. 1628, or The American Health Care Act, before the House of Representatives could vote on it. Ryan withdrew the bill because it didn’t have the support that it needed in order to pass. Even if the House of Representatives had gotten it to pass, the bill stood little to no chance of passage in the United States Senate.
A recent article on the Lifehealthpro website indicated that, although Speaker Ryan said he was proud of the bill he helped to author, he said that “We’re going to be living with Obamacare for the foreseeable future.”
Both Speaker Ryan and President Trump went on to paint a dismal picture in their statements to the media describing the ACA’s imminent destruction as a ‘death spiral’.
Shannon Pettypiece, White House correspondent for Bloomberg News, said in an interview on CBS This Morning clarified that they were referring to how some markets, such as Tennessee for example, have a larger population of sick people. Because of this, these areas may only have one insurance provider to purchase insurance from, while larger markets such as New York or California, may have several. This lack of competition in the marketplace causes the price of premiums to increase.
Pettypiece went on to say that there are people who make too much to qualify for government subsidies to purchase insurance and they end up paying high premiums and deductibles. What can fix the problem is something that she says the GOP doesn’t want to think about and that is more subsidies and more regulations, or “a bigger carrot and a bigger stick,” she said, “If the penalty went up for people who don’t buy insurance, more healthy people would be driven into the market. If the subsidies went up to pay for people to get insurance, then more people would be able to afford it and they too would go into the market.” Pettypiece also said that if more regulations were put on the insurers so that they had to go into markets that currently have less competition; that would also help in making healthcare affordable for more people. The key, she says, however, is to get both parties to build a coalition to move improving the ACA forward.
In a statement on Friday, Speaker Ryan said that in spite of the defeat, he is willing to move on to other matters such as tax reform. The failure of the ACHA does make it difficult, Ryan indicated, “but it does not in any way make it impossible.”
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