Backlash against the American Health Care Act, the replacement of the Affordable Care Act (aka: Obamacare) is happening everywhere. Some 24 million people are now at risk for losing their insurance. People with pre-existing conditions (which is kind of all of us) are worried that their premiums will all but keep them from getting health insurance.
There some other, less talked about consequences of the AHCA, which, if passed by the Senate as-is (and few, very few, even many in the House who voted FOR the AHCA think it will come out of the Senate the same as it went in) could change the list of benefits for the insured.
This is especially true for women who may give birth under a new law.
One of the most noticealbe changes? A woman's right to pump breast milk or breastfeed at work.
When all is said and done, the AHCA plan that passed in the House would eliminate several significant health benefits that are currently required by Obamacare, including care for pregnant women and newborns, mental health treatment and maternity care.
To make matters more confusing, health coverage in the future will be geographically defined. Each state—like a parent—will get to determine which essential health benefits are best for its community (note: they may not include those currently required under the ACA).
As it stands, the ACA requires that employers who have 50 or more employees provide "reasonable break time" (sanctioned by the Department of Labor) and a secluded area where new mothers can express breast milk during the workday.
Imagine losing a high-paying job (or spouse) and all the benefits (and money) that came along with it/them.
Unless Trump has a change of heart and decides to throw mom a milk bone—like a dog—you can kiss that goodbye.
And that is only the beginning.
In addition to allowing states to get waivers from Obamacare’s requirements and permitting them to charge everyone the same price regardless of health history, Vox published a thorough breakdown of some of the other changes we might expect that include:
- Immediate phase out of the individual mandate (then penalty tax on those who don’t purchase health care insurance).
- Changes (“cuts”) to Medicaid coverage and phase out of expansion.
- Lower taxes for the wealthy. (Surprise!)
- Tax credits based on age, not income, for those purchasing insurance on their own.
The AHCA also plans to support discrimination against those with preexisting conditions. This would include things like maternity care and mental health services because, you now, abuse and babies are a thing of the past. *Rolls eyes*
Those are the revisions we know about, and they suck. But now let's play devil's advocate for a moment:
Imagine losing a high-paying job (or spouse) and all the benefits (and money) that came along with it/them. Now toss in a couple of kids (or even just one), and all the time and money it takes to care for them.
Guess what? You now qualify for Obamacare. If you don't sign up, you will be penalized.
In a nutshell, Obamacare was designed for those living in extreme poverty, and the American Health Care Act is the complete opposite.
No big deal, right? At least, you'll be covered.
Wrong. Well, kind of wrong. The House plan definitely comes up short on the specifics, but the Obamacare experience screwed people over, too.
First off, it is a nightmare to communicate with the government, and NOW, thanks to second-rate coverage and so many options, folks were required to do so—often.
Guess what else?
The ACA no longer offers a Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) plan as it did when it first passed. The new programs being offered in the exchanges are strictly Health Maintenance Organization (HMO), which means you will ONLY be covered if you employ one of the doctors from a sometimes mediocre list within their network. In some cases, this also means you have to use their in-house pharmacy to get a discount on prescriptions, which may or may not be covered under the plan.
In a nutshell, Obamacare was designed for those living in extreme poverty, and the American Health Care Act is the complete opposite. Either way, we are all screwed; unless, of course, we never age one day in our super-rich, perfectly healthy lives.
Thanks, O̶b̶a̶m̶a̶ Trump. Thanks, America.