United States President Donald Trump’s exigent need to pass a new health-care bill to replace the Affordable Care Act enacted under former president Barack Obama in 2010 has not decompressed whatsoever. Despite three bungled attempts to pass his extensively discussed and largely berated health-care act, he continues to speak of increased improvement and high hopes of a bill passing in the future.
On Tuesday September twenty-six, the Republican party announced that they do not have enough votes to pass their latest healthcare bill, also known as the Graham-Cassidy bill, and will waive a vote this week. The primary goal of the Graham-Cassidy bill, named after United States senators Lindsey O. Graham and Bill Cassidy, is to turn control of the health-care markets over to the states. Ideally, instead of funding Medicaid and subsidies directly, that money would be put into a block grant that a state could potentially utilize to develop any health-care system it desires. When explaining the bill and its effects on individual states, South Carolina Senator Lindsey O. Graham said, “If you like Obamacare, you can keep it,” and that “If you want to replace it, you can.”
While numerous people have voiced their support for the Graham-Cassidy bill, many also argue that the economic complications of the proposed bill will have overly harmful effects to the nation over time, with expectations of a huge cut in federal ACA spending in 2026. Aviva Aron-Dine, a senior fellow at the left-leaning Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, argues that “You can’t actually keep the same program if your federal funding is being cut by a third in 2026.” She supports this claim: “[Funding] is capped, so it wouldn’t go up and down with the economy.” Some have also voiced their problems with Medicaid experiencing a decrease in funding, making it very difficult for states to maintain the Medicaid expansion.
The Graham-Cassidy bill differs greatly from the ACA and the failed Senate bill; for example, under the Graham-Cassidy bill, states would have more control over how much more insurers could charge older customers in comparison with younger customers, the choice to use their block grants to fund cost-sharing subsidies, and the choice to use money from their block grant to provide subsidies themselves. Additionally, states would have more say for which pre-existing conditions individuals could and could not be charged. Changes to Medicaid funding under the Graham-Cassidy bill would include Medicaid being funded by giving states a per capita amount beginning in 2020, and for states that expand Medicaid, the federal government paying a smaller portion of the cost also starting in 2020. Other major points of interest in the bill include Planned Parenthood facing a one-year Medicaid funding freeze, and people being able to contribute more to their health savings accounts than under the ACA.
With a lot of criticism and anger regarding President Trump and the Republican Party’s most recent attempt at a healthcare bill, it is clear that the Republicans still have many steps to take and changes to oversee before a healthcare bill may be passed successfully and replace the former president Obama’s Affordable Care Act.
By Rachel Clift