Republicans Are Coming For Your Healthcare — 25 Million Set To Lose Insurance
In a vote that concluded around 1:30am Thursday morning, Senate Republicans took the first step in repealing the Affordable Care Act and consequently stripping health insurance coverage from more than 25 million Americans. Though the talking points and hashtags reiterated Republicans’ pledges to “Repeal and Replace” Obamacare, this vote, which was then confirmed by the House on Friday, established a speedy process for the former with no semblance of a plan for the latter.
The Affordable Care Act, often referred to as and often not realized to be Obamacare, is the comprehensive health care reform law enacted in March 2010 by President Obama. It was the most significant revision to healthcare in the United States since the Social Security Amendments of 1965, which created Medicare and Medicaid.
The law had 3 primary goals: 1. Make affordable health insurance available to more people. 2. Expand the Medicaid program to cover all adults with income below 138% of the federal poverty level. 3. Support innovative medical care delivery methods designed to lower the costs of health care generally, per HealthCare.gov.
When the ACA became law in 2010, 16.3% of the population, or 49.9 million Americans, lacked health insurance.
Since the ACA’s enactment, the uninsured rate has been cut in half and the trend-line of record lows continues. In 2015, the percentage of people without health insurance coverage for the calendar year was 9.1 or 29.0 million, down by 1.3 percentage points (10.4 percent or 33.0 million) in 2014.
In Q1 of 2016, the uninsured rate hit a record low of 8.6 percent of Americans (persons of all ages uninsured at the time of interview), marking the first time it fell below 9 percent in the nation’s history, per the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
As the uninsured rate has continued to drop, millions of Americans have benefitted from rights and protections under the ACA that makes coverage more fair and easy to understand. These rights and protections are listed below. Some do not apply to grandfathered health insurance plans.
Rights & Protections Under the ACA
During their late Wednesday night/early Thursday morning vote-a-rama, when Republicans voted to move forward with ACA repeal, despite its success in bringing health care access to millions of Americans, Republicans also struck down six amendments intended to protect basic healthcare benefits:
If the Affordable Care Act is fully repealed, these essential health care protections will be seized and an estimated 25 million Americans will lose coverage.
The chart below, courtesy Charles Gaba, Obamacare Tracker at ACASignups, breaks down the estimated number of people to lose coverage by state. It also includes Senators up for reelection in 2018 and how they voted. Contact information for our United States Senators can be found here.
With their votes this week, Republicans signaled they will move full steam ahead with repeal. Regarding the vote, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Speaker Paul Ryan made the following statements, respectively.
“The next step will then be the legislation to finally repeal Obamacare and move us toward smarter health policies. The repeal legislation will include a stable transition period as we work toward patient-centered health care.”
“By taking this first step toward repealing Obamacare, we are closer to giving Americans relief from the problems this law has caused.”
Neither McConnell nor Ryan have provided details on their plan to “replace” and no information is readily available on their websites.4
Went looking for the Republican healthcare plan on @SpeakerRyan's website. Took some searching, but here it is:
Democrats have responded to the repeal efforts with outrage and resistance. This weekend, Democrats are hosting #OurFirstStand rallies across the country to defend the Affordable Care Act.
Fired up and ready to talk about why we must save the Affordable Care Act. Millions of lives are at stake in this fight. #OurFirstStand
All across the country today, Dems are hosting #OurFirstStand rallies to #savehealthcare. Boston is ready to fight back.
President Obama also launched a petition calling for support to protect the ACA: