Abstracts: Aspects of the American Health Care Act

A roundup of coverage on President Trump’s proposed replacement for Obamacare.

• Two House committees voted to advance the American Health Care Act Thursday. Trump’s replacement of the Affordable Care Act would use age to allocate individual tax credits for health insurance and get rid of penalties for not having coverage. The bill currently has no estimated budget, but congressional budget analysts estimate that the credits will be insufficient for low-income individuals to secure the help they need, while being too big to slash federal spending in the way the GOP envisioned. Republicans are split between those who believe the AHCA does little to improve on the ACA, and those who think the rushed proposal will leave fewer with accessible health care and has little chance of passing the Senate. (The Washington Post)

The AHCA has faced criticism from both Democratic and Republican leaders.

Visual by iStock.com/dkfielding

• The American Medical Association is among the many groups denouncing the bill, which stands in stark contrast to the wide endorsement with which health care organizations groups greeted reforms during the Obama era. In a letter shared Wednesday, AMA chief executive James Madara expressed concern about plan’s age-based tax credits, “the expected decline in health insurance coverage and the potential harm it would cause to vulnerable patient populations.” (The Huffington Post)

• But how exactly will the new tax credits differ from those available under Obamacare? An interactive tool from the Kaiser Family Foundation provides some answers — and it looks like Trump’s plan may be welcomed by those earning just over the threshold for Obamacare subsidies. (The Atlantic)

• Although the American Health Care Act increases subsidies based on age, it also frees up health insurance companies to charge older people more. (Salon)

• President Trump asserted Thursday that his plan is “coming along great,” but in addition to criticism from the left, several Republican groups have come out against it as nothing more than Obamacare Lite. (The New York Times)

• Opponents criticized the Affordable Care Act for limited networks and provider choice. Trump’s American Health Care Acts leaves oversight of provider networks up to individual states while boosting assistance for middle-income Americans, ultimately resulting in people only being able to choose their doctors if they can afford to. (STAT)

• On Wednesday, a lawyer for Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee confirmed that mental health coverage will no longer be considered an “essential health benefit” under Medicaid expansion, meaning states could decide whether or not to include the services in their plans. (Washington Post)

• Along with cuts to mental health coverage, rolling back the expansion of Medicaid has the potential to exacerbate the opioid crisis in Trump strongholds like Ohio and Kentucky, as addiction service coverage may also fall away. (VICE News)

• And in addition to blocking $500 million dollars in federal funding for Planned Parenthood, the American Health Care Act threatens to dismantle private insurance abortion coverage. The bill will prevent any woman from using tax credits towards a plan that covers abortion. (Vox)

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