Ohio Governor John Kasich is urging Democrats and Republicans to “reach out across the aisle” and work together to either amend the Affordable Care Act or provide a reasonable, and sustainable, alternative. During an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union,” the governor said he is specifically concerned about coverage for the most “vulnerable” — including the chronically ill, people with serious drug addictions, and the mentally ill.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which is commonly referred to as “Obamacare,” was signed into law in 2010 under the administration of then-President Barack Obama. Although the ACA has provided healthcare to millions of Americans who were previously uninsured, it remains a point of heated controversy.
As reported by HealthLine, the Affordable Care Act has provided millions of Americans with affordable and comprehensive health care options. In addition to preventing insurance companies from denying people with pre-existing medical conditions, the ACA requires insurance companies to provide a wide variety of screenings and preventative services.
However, the Affordable Care Act is not perfect. Critics argue that the premiums are simply too high for many people to afford — and those who opt out could be forced to pay a fine. Critics have also argued that the ACA has increased taxes and forced small businesses to make substantial cuts.
Throughout his campaign, Donald Trump pledged to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act within the first weeks or months of his presidency. Two months after his inauguration, the American Health Care Act of 2017 was introduced as a replacement for the ACA.
The AHCA, which was referred to as “Trumpcare” or “Republicare,” was introduced by House Budget Committee Chair Diane Lynn Black on March 20, 2017.
Although the American Health Care Act would have retained some popular components of the Affordable Care Act, including the provision preventing insurance companies from denying people with pre-existing medical conditions, the AHCA abolished the penalty for those who opted out.
— Dave Brown (@ggwsolar) March 16, 2017
Unlike the ACA, the AHCA would also provide enrollees with refundable tax credits — which would help offset the cost of purchasing health insurance. As reported by Politifact, the AHCA “also continues to subsidize premiums to make insurance more affordable, but the size of those subsidies and who gets them changes significantly.”
For example, some sources estimate “A 64-year-old making $26,500 would be responsible for $14,600 in premiums under the American Health Care Act. With the Affordable Care Act, the same person would pay $1,700.” In contrast, a 40-year-old enrollee making $26,500 would pay $2,400 in premiums as opposed to $1,700 under the ACA.
Although the AHCA would have reduced the deficit by an estimated $337 billion compared to the ACA, an estimated 15 million people would have lost their health insurance coverage over the next 10 years.
— Huffington Post (@HuffingtonPost) March 26, 2017
Despite the controversy surrounding the ACA and the proposed AHCA, the AHCA was expected to reach the House floor on Friday, March 24. However, as there was not enough GOP support, the bill was ultimately withdrawn.
Ohio Governor John Kasich said it is clear that portions of the Affordable Care Act are in “very serious trouble.” However, he acknowledges that the American Health Care Act was not the ideal replacement. In his opinion, the Democrats and Republicans need to “grow up and… serve America” by working together on a reasonable compromise.
About the cuts proposed in the AHCA, Kasich said “the vulnerable, the mentally ill, the drug-addicted, the chronically ill… will pay the price for politics… That’s not America. That’s not a country that loves all of its citizens. Frankly, it borders on mean.”
Instead, as reported by the Columbus Dispatch, Governor Kasich would like to see Democrats and Republicans working together to “engineer a sustainable solution for what ails the Affordable Care Act.”
It is unclear whether President Donald Trump heard, or will heed, Ohio Governor John Kasich’s advice. However, as reported by USA Today, Trump has expressed an intention to simply “let Obamacare explode” while he moves on to address other issues — including tax reform.
[Featured Image by AP Photo/Chris Russell, Pool]