Healthcare: The AHCA or the Bill passed by the House of Representatives

 

I love to engage my neighbor Kelly in political discussion because we’ve lived near each other long enough, and exchanged enough baked treats, that I think we both know we have a relationship of mutual respect……and mutual disagreement on many political issues.

 

Kelly is a caring member of our city, our public & private school culture, and the kind of citizen and small business owner any politician would be happy to have as a constituent. She recently spearheaded efforts to create crosswalks on our busy residential street to preserve the safety of school children walking to and from school.

 

I’m ELCA Lutheran, went to a Quaker college, and decidedly of socialistic/progressive bent. I experienced National Healthcare while living in Japan and was very influenced by that experience. Here’s a few question I asked Kelly recently as an attempt at raising issues in an atmosphere of mutual respect and understanding

 

  1. In the last five years or so, my health insurance, which I receive through my husband’s employer, hasn’t changed that much. It did become a high-deductible plan with an accompanying Health Savings Account…but that coverage was good enough to save me from bankruptcy during my bout with breast cancer four years ago.  As a small business owner with children with special medical needs, what has changed for you in the past 5 years in terms of insurance?

Kelly: About 3 years ago, we switched from traditional health insurance to health sharing ministries.  Prior to switching, our monthly premiums were as much as our mortgage and each member of our family carried a $20,000 deductible.  Additionally, it was mandated that we carry dental insurance.  Switching to health sharing was an unbelievable difference.  Our monthly responsibility dropped about two-thirds and our individual deductibles are $300.  With Obama in office, there was a continual threat that health sharing would no longer be allowed.

 

  1. The AHCA Bill (link to Wikipedia article: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Health_Care_Act_of_2017) that was passed in the House of Representatives recently probably wasn’t the dream bill for a variety of different political issues. I know that I fear two things that I think the bill as it stands would do:
  2. Stops the expansion of Medicaid enrollment under Obama’s ACA.
  3. Eliminates the ACA’s community ratingprovision (barring insurance companies from charging older people more than three times what they charge younger people) would increase cost disparities between age groups and would increase premiums for Americans more prone to illness.

These are the two parts of the act that I worry about. You and I have talked before about how people like me, with insurance through jobs, and people like you, small business owners with family support network etc. will survive whatever this Bill ends up becoming in the Senate.

 

What are your thoughts about how to care for people (elderly, working poor, etc) who may not have access to healthcare anymore if the Bill passes as its written right now?

Kelly:  ACHA will allow states to define benefits for basic medical care eliminating many of the extras that Obamacare mandated.  Therefore, more insurance companies can be involved and more options.  Plans become affordable.  Limiting Medicaid expansion reforms an out of control program.  The Kaiser Foundation shows that high risk pools can work.  ACHA will shore up the funding needed to do so. 

The bottom line is that we will continue to have layers to help and protect the most vulnerable.  Most Americans are out of touch with health care costs.  We set aside money for cell phone plans, groceries, housing, car insurance and clothes, but not healthcare.  There is too much of an entitlement attitude and far too little understanding.

 

  1. Finally, is there anything you think is wrongfully characterized by the left/liberal media about the GOP’s attempts at healthcare reform, or, something you wish you could have said to the House of Representatives as they deliberated on this bill?

Kelly: There are a lot of scare tactics going around and far too soon. Americans are not going to lose their insurance.  ACA had weak spots and ACHA is addressing them.  Additionally, this bill just passed the house.  It is on a journey.

Thanks very much for being willing to discuss this with me! I look forward to more front-yard talks to help me think through political issues with a balanced perspective.

 

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