The Obamacare repeal and replace bill, the American Health Care Act (AHCA), passed the House yesterday.
Most of the arguments against the bill (which I’m pretty sure nobody has read) center around people losing coverage, particularly those with pre-existing conditions. Of course, that particular argument neglects the fact that most people’s deductibles are so high that they can barely afford to use the coverage they’ve been forced to purchase – and the AHCA maintains the provision of Obamacare protecting those with pre-existing conditions.
Not only that, the AHCA provides states with federal funds to help set up high-risk pools to provide insurance to their sickest patients and also to aid those with pre-existing conditions in buying insurance.
Still, liberals don’t seem to have gotten the memo. Jimmy Kimmel gave an emotional monologue on his show earlier this week discussing the recent birth of his son, who was born with a heart defect.
He used the situation to make the case for Obamacare, stating “You know, before 2014 if you were born with congenital heart disease like my son was, there was a good chance you’d never be able to get health insurance because you had a pre-existing condition. You were born with a pre-existing condition and if your parents didn’t have medical insurance you might not live long enough to even get denied because of a pre-existing condition. If your baby is going to die and it doesn’t have to, it shouldn’t matter how much money you make.” Obama himself was among the first to thank Kimmel for the monologue.
Well said, Jimmy. That's exactly why we fought so hard for the ACA, and why we need to protect it for kids like Billy. And congratulations! https://t.co/77F8rZrD3P
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) May 2, 2017
And yes, they can thank Obamacare for that, but the particular provision Kimmel is talking about isn’t threatened.
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Among those who voted in favor of the AHCA yesterday was Republican representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers, whose son Cole was born with Down syndrome (a preexisting condition, obviously). She explained her vote, and defended the new law in an op-ed at the Washington Post yesterday:
Protections for children such as Cole Rodgers and Billy Kimmel have long existed, as they should. And despite what people are saying, House Republicans aren’t seeking to strip these protections — or anyone’s protections — away.
It’s the people we love — our children, friends and neighbors — who are the inspiration behind our American Health Care Act, which we passed in the House on Thursday.
We’re working hard to build a health-care system that puts the American people back at the center of their health decisions. We’ve had conversations — tough conversations — with people from all walks of life, and we’ve passed a bill that we’re confident will improve lives. When Obamacare was introduced, Republicans and Democrats knew the status quo wasn’t working. But Republicans rejected the notion that to help 2 million people with preexisting conditions get access to care, we needed a 2,000-page bill that transformed one-sixth of the economy.
States know better than the federal government how to allocate and manage resources to address the needs of their people. Our plan allows states to serve and provide financial support directly to vulnerable populations, including people with preexisting conditions. We’ve seen this system work before — just look at Maine. After the state created an “invisible” high-risk pool (“invisible” because it did not cordon off people with preexisting conditions from the traditional market) and relaxed its premium rating rules in 2011, people with preexisting conditions continued to have access to health care and their premiums were cut in half. Young and healthy people could finally afford to enter the market, and prices stabilized even further. This approach was more personal, reasonable and innovative than anything a bureaucrat in D.C. could have imagined.
The AHCA is hardly perfect, and keeps a number of other provisions of Obamacare in effect (see a summary here), but it’s much better than nothing. Most importantly, the AHCA goes after the pulse of Obamacare, and repeals the individual mandate.
Without the individual mandate, Obamacare as we know it is over. Now, we need to get to work freeing the rest of the system.
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