Republicans have finally completed a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare, the American Healthcare Act (AHCA), and criticism has come from both sides of the isle. The bill is seeing considerable opposition from not only political figures but also corporations in the healthcare industry. Liberals argue that the bill threatens to rob millions of people of their healthcare plans while conservatives contend that the bill has not gone far enough in the direction opposite the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The new GOP healthcare bill has already earned the approval of multiple committees in the House of Representatives. One of the latest in a string of industry experts to speak on the subject is Dr. J. Mario Molina, CEO of Molina Healthcare, which is a sizable California-based health plan provider for millions of people.
Molina publicly stands against the proposed bill that Republicans are now attempting to push through Congress with the support of President Trump who promised to repeal and replace Obamacare in favor of superior healthcare legislation. According to Dr. Molina, his company is dealing with many patients who are setting up appointments with their doctors for, in several cases, no other reason than that they fear they are mere months away from losing coverage. They want to accomplish as much as they can in the way of healthcare while they can still afford to see to their needs.
Critics also have serious concerns about provisions in the Republican healthcare bill about how pre-existing conditions are being handled. Ultimately, patients with pre-existing conditions cannot be turned away and can be assured coverage, as stipulated in Obamacare, but the difference now is that, should they not use their insurance policies for a certain duration of time after the bill potentially becomes law, insurance companies reach a point of being eligible to raise those patients’ premiums at that time, which Obamacare never allowed them to do. Many feel that this is little more than a means by which big companies can profit disadvantageously off of individuals’ health challenges. Patients like 33-year-old Ford put this into perspective because his pre-existing condition is young-onset Parkinson’s Disease, one of an innumerable list of lifelong diagnoses.
“There is no cure,” Ford tells NPR. “We had to very much start considering life planning. We had to make sure, you know, are we going to have enough income.”
Ford and his wife, Cortney, are concerned because the modern treatment is only symptom management, and the disease is gradually degenerative, which makes it much more likely that they will eventually require an individual health policy. For this, they’re inclined to enroll Ford in Medicaid, and the new bill threatens to drastically reduce Medicaid funding, leaving the states to allocate funds from elsewhere and, more likely, save money by reducing benefits across the board and by making policies more exclusive.
This is one of many types of households whom Molina defends when he says that “the tax credits are not going to be sufficient to cover the premiums. And that means that people are going to have to pay more out-of-pocket for the same coverage they’ve been receiving.”
The ACA subsidized healthcare based on citizens’ annual income such that, for those challenged to afford health insurance, the federal government granted a certain percentage of their premiums to help them purchase the policy in question. The AHCA, on the other hand, aims to do away with these subsidies based on income and attempts to help citizens, instead, by doling out tax credits based on age. Critics broadly agree that this is a grossly ineffective way to help those who struggle to afford healthcare.
Molina Healthcare is one of many entities in the industry speaking out against the GOP’s current healthcare plans. Experts and patients alike oppose it from all angles, and it is no surprise that backlash continues to get more and more fierce.