Earlier this week, House Republican leaders presented outlines of a plan to replace the Affordable Care Act, leaning heavily on tax credits to finance individual insurance purchases and sharply reducing federal payments to the 31 states that have expanded Medicaid eligibility.
While GOP leaders opined that the plan would not “pull the rug out from anyone who received care under states’ Medicaid expansions,” the plan does appear to fundamentally remake Medicaid, which provides health care to more than 70 million Americans. Under the plan, Medicaid, an open-ended entitlement program designed to cover all health care needs, would be put on a budget.
The Affordable Care Act’s subsidies, which expand as incomes decline, giving poorer Americans more help, would be replaced by fixed tax credits to help people purchase insurance policies. The tax credits would increase with a person’s age, but would not vary with a person’s income. New incentives for consumers to establish savings accounts to pay medical expenses still assume that workers would have money at the end of a pay period to sock away.
The House Republican plan would also make it easier for consumers to buy health insurance from companies licensed in other states. Click here to read the plan.
The Medical Association has been vocal with concerns about changes to the health care system that could cause patients to lose access to their care and/or their insurance plans. Executive Director Mark Jackson and President-Elect Jerry Harrison, M.D., recently traveled to Washington, D.C., for a series of meetings with Alabama’s Congressional Delegation to voice the concerns of Alabama’s physicians in person.
“Dr. Harrison and I felt it was necessary to go to Washington and meet with our Congressional Delegation so they could hear our concerns about a repeal-and-replace of the current health care system,” Jackson said. “Anything that could possibly endanger our residents’ access to care needs to be given serious consideration before any action is taken. It was important for us to remind them that what they may see as dollars in a budget equate to patients in our treatment rooms here in Alabama.”
The Medical Association has released its 2017 State and Federal Legislative Agendas, developed with guidance from the House of Delegates and input from individual physician members. Click here to learn more about what issues the Medical Association supports and opposes.