While the US GOP party has finally unveiled its plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), the first step has been taken to start the dismantling process.
Against the wishes and warnings of the Democratic party and healthcare industry concerns like the American Medical Association, the American Hospital Association and AARP, House Republicans have pushed a bill through the Ways and Means Committee that abolishes the tax penalty levied on U.S. citizens who fail to purchase insurance. Historically, this is the part of Obamacare that the GOP has most furiously opposed. The notion people would be forced to purchase insurance goes against the fabric of capitalism.
Among the changes outlined in the GOP’s plan are cuts to medicaid programs throughout the country. These cuts are at the heart of what employers and the healthcare industry say will result in millions of Americans being kicked off insurance plans.
Not surprisingly, America’s Health Insurance Plans, representing insurers, was quick to stand behind the tax cuts that would be handed out to the healthcare industry, but still warned Medicaid changes “could result in unnecessary disruptions in the coverage and care beneficiaries depend on.”
While this is but the first step in what figures to be a long and contested repeal process, it’s an important step because it gets momentum rolling in the direction of the campaign promises made by US President Donald Trump. At this point in time, there’s enough opposition from some GOP Representatives and Senators to keep the repeal process heavily in the news for months to come.
As leader of the House, Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., told reporters: “This is what good, conservative health care reform looks like. It is bold and it is long overdue, and it is us fulfilling our promises.” The lines are being drawn in the sand and the battle is on.