Republicans unveil plan to replace the Affordable Care Act
What's the issue?
On March 6, Republicans revealed their plan to replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
The plan would eliminate the individual mandate requiring Americans to purchase health insurance. Under the bill, the government would issue tax credits rather than subsidies in an effort to get Americans to purchase health insurance. Individuals would receive annual tax credits of $2,000-$4,000 based on age.
Individuals that fail to purchase insurance would no longer be penalized, but insurers would be allowed to impose a 30 percent surcharge for people that have gaps between health plans.
The bill does keep three popular parts of the ACA:
- Prohibiting insurance companies from denying coverage for individuals with pre-existing conditions
- Allowing young adults to stay on their parents' insurance plan until the age of 26
- Banning lifetime coverage caps
The bill has not been reviewed by the Congressional Budget Office, so the full economic impact of the bill is not known. However,
some analysts state that millions of consumers could lose coverage under the bill
. For older Americans, the tax credits may not cover as much of the cost as the current ACA subsidies cover. This could cause individuals to forgo insurance.
This plan has been met with opposition from both Democrats and Republicans. While Democrats are likely to oppose any effort to replace the Affordable Care Act, several Republicans are opposing this measure because of the bill's similarity to the ACA, calling it "ObamaCare Lite."
Republican leaders like Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price note that the bill is a "work in progress" and are willing to work with members of Congress on the legislation.
Why is this important?
The Republican plan would eventually reduce the expansion of Medicaid. Expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act prompted some states to provide coverage for adult dental benefits. Ensuring that every individual has access to oral health services is a priority for ASDA.
On March 28, dental students and dentists will lobby to include Medicaid provisions like adult dental benefits and comprehensive oral health services for children in the final ACA repeal bill adopted by Congress.