Editorial: What’s in your coverage?


GOP presents the American Health Care Act

If you are worried about obtaining health care insurance, well… you should be. After House Republicans faced a firestorm of criticisms for hiding away on the Hill to hash out their healthcare reform policies, Republicans finally introduced their version of health care reform last Monday, March 5. 
The potential repeal of the Affordable Care Act, more popularly known as Obamacare, would leave college students at a disadvantage. We are still allowed to piggyback off of our parent’s insurance (if they have it) until we are 26 years old. However, for those who can’t, this measure creates additional expenses for college students. 
As college students working in Humboldt County earning a minimum wage of $10.50 per hour, the possibility of affording health care coverage under the GOP’s American Health Care Act is unlikely. Obamacare tried to secure affordable healthcare for all and is by no means perfect, but instead of taking the time to fix the deficiencies, Republican’s “Obama-lite” healthcare system is wasting time and money.  
While we are waiting for the new administration to learn the ins and outs of health care law, millions of people are at a standstill wondering how they are going to get and stay covered. 
The bill wasn’t released with an analysis from the Congressional Budget office, and even conservative republicans are worried about the negative impact the measure could cause on the economy. The bill notes four key changes that shifts the fiscal burden from the government back to the people: Refundable tax credits, health saving accounts, block grants, and high- risk pools. These fiscal policies might sound like a dream solution — to those who can afford it. 
Refundable tax credits is money the government is willing to give back to you. The problem with these credits is that they are based on age unlike Obamacare’s income-based regulation. Age does not dictate the severity of medical care cost. A refundable tax credit is insufficient cushion for the unexpected cost. Under this new bill, young adults are considered the less in need. The bill states just $2,000 are credited to individuals under 30 years of age.
The new bill risks denying millions in coverage with its proposed block grants that would provide a fixed amount of money to states for their Medicaid programs. A fixed block of money that doesn’t rise with inflation, meaning that states might not be able supply coverage at the amount they have in the past.
The GOP also sliped in a provision that would defund Planned Parenthood [PPFA]. At least 60 percent of Planned Parenthood patients use Medicaid or some other type of government based insurance according to PPFA. This means that if the program is defunded, all of these women would lose access to affordable health care. 
Although people with pre-existing conditions will still be protected under the new bill, they will potentially have to pay more if they want to be insured. Insurance agencies will be allowed to increase the premium of those with pre-existing conditions while everyone else’s insurance rates are reduced.
On top of all these new policies that would drain young adults pockets, the new bill includes a penalty for people who let their insurance lapse. The bill allows insurance agencies to raise their premiums 30 percent. This makes it hard for people to even try to regain coverage after losing it. All of these methods have been tested, tried, and found to be lacking in effectiveness. Obamacare was enacted in the first place as a solution to these problems. 
While Obama care extended coverage to over 20 million people, the GOP’s health care plan seems to be ripping coverage out of the average American’s hands. The new healthcare reform bill may as well read: The poor, low-income, and persons with pre-existing conditions need not apply. 

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