Vice President Mike Pence recently visited the state of Kentucky, where he proclaimed that “the Obamacare nightmare is about to end,” despite Congress still being in hot debate on the new healthcare law being pushed by Republicans. On Saturday morning, Pence delivered a very strong endorsement for the new replacement bill from the GOP to replace the Affordable Care Act, according to Business Insider. The bill was introduced earlier this week by House Republicans.
The American Health Care Act was also endorsed by President Donald Trump, as well. Both claimed that the bill was up for negotiation and input, meaning they most likely feel it can be altered before it comes to Trump to sign it into law. In his speech to constituents in Kentucky, Mike Pence highlighted some of the major issues with Obamacare, including the huge rise in premiums and lack of carrier options.
Premiums went up at least $100 or more for most Americans at the start of 2017 and several insurance companies richly lagged behind the major ones in each state. Pence told the people of Kentucky “the Obamacare nightmare is about to end.” On top of this, he talked about the American Health Care Act’s primary proposals, such as the expanding of health savings accounts, providing tax credits to individuals to go toward their healthcare costs, and repealing the individual and employer mandate.
Pence claimed that it was not right for Americans who did not want healthcare to be forced to have it. He is right, but the problem with the AHCA is that it does penalize people when they try to get on insurance plans after getting off of them. The tax sits at 30 percent, which is a bit much, as it says that if people don’t want insurance because of the cost and drop it, then realize they need it later for a surgery, they have to pay a tax.
The only way to avoid this is hopefully to reduce costs on insurance plans, which make it much more likely that people will buy insurance and not avoid getting it. Many people have had issues paying in the past, which is why they did not have it. However, Obamacare did help to change that with the ability to reduce costs through the Health Care Marketplace. If the same thing can be done to help low-income individuals, or simply bring costs way down for all, the new healthcare bill would be terrific.
On top of all of this, Mike Pence mentioned that the new bill would keep some things from Obamacare. The things the GOP plans to keep are certainly key, and make a lot of sense. They plan to keep the ability to have insurance despite having a pre-existing condition, and the stipulation that allows children to remain on their parent’s insurance until they are 26.
Mike Pence went on to speak at length regarding Medicaid as it currently stands. The replacement bill by the GOP includes Medicaid block grants and would also kick lottery winners off of the program. Obviously, if one comes into a great deal of money, they don’t really need Medicaid to get healthcare. The bill also gives Medicaid regulations largely back to the states.
Pence feels that this would be good as it would allow each state to have the help that they need for their people, rather than an overall federal Medicaid bill. He said this would help to “better serve the underprivileged” in the state.
“We’ll give states like Kentucky the freedom and flexibility with Medicaid to meet the needs of your most vulnerable in the way that works here in Kentucky.”
Despite what Mike Pence said, it seems that the American people actually tend to like the Medicaid expansion implemented by Obamacare. A poll released last month from the nonpartisan health policy organization, the Kaiser Family Foundation, claimed that 65 percent of Americans surveyed said that Medicaid should continue largely as it exists today. Under Obamacare, Medicaid became available to 11 million more people than it was available to before.
States that adopted the program received federal funds to assist with it, which made it a win-win for people in state governments to use the program. It wouldn’t hurt state funds, and it allowed them to have a program to help more people in their state. If, by chance, it was thrown back to the states, there is a chance that they may not extend Medicaid to enough people, which could leave a good chunk of people without healthcare coverage.
Pence claimed that Obamacare must go, in his address to Kentucky.
“Obamacare has failed the people of Kentucky, it’s failed the people of America, and Obamacare must go.”
This speech in Kentucky was not done at random. Mike Pence did not just decide to go to the state because he liked how beautiful it was, or wanted to catch some real bluegrass music. Rather, this comes on the heels of Kentucky Senator Rand Paul’s very public rebuke of the new GOP replacement bill. He, among several other conservatives in Congress, feel the bill does not drift enough from Obamacare.
In fact, Rand Paul went as far as to say in a Tweet that the “House leadership plan is Obamacare Lite. It will not pass. Conservatives are not going to take it.” Paul may very well be correct in his thoughts regarding how many conservatives will take to the bill once it is broken down in comparison to Obamacare.
The bill does have a lot of connections to the plan it is set to replace, as Paul points out. Paul has been heavily against Obamacare since it first passed, and attempted to repeal it multiple times over the years. The GOP plan does have several things that Rand Paul has issue with, such as the provision of tax credits and a few other things that the GOP is leaving in from Obamacare.
President Trump has tried to get Senator Paul on board with the new GOP healthcare plan, but he is not budging on his comments and he is still not in support of the bill. He’ll likely fight it similarly to how he fought against Obamacare, as long as the things remain in place that he feels should be removed going forward. Obviously, there will be much debate on the bill going forward, so it may change up before it is made into a law.
[Featured Image By Timothy D. Easley/AP Images]