El Paso Obamacare is not dead … yet
As Mr. Trump has mentioned several times, and as stated in his website www.donaldjtrump.com/positions/healthcare-reform the first thing he will do once he becomes president in January 2017 is to end Obamacare. His website talks about 7 major points in which Trump will base his new Healthcare Reform Plan what he has called TRUMPCARE. This is the list:
1) Completely repeal Obamacare. Our elected representatives must eliminate the individual mandate. No person should be required to buy insurance unless he or she wants to.
Bill HR3762 was introduced into Congress on October 2015 to end Obamacare’s tax credits at the end of 2017. It seems Republicans want to keep Obamacare running for 2017 as the Congressional Budget Office estimates that 20 million people could lose insurance coverage once the Obamacare repeal begins. Nevertheless, the newly elected president Donald Trump could at his own will and desire repeal it sooner, it all depends in whether he wants to follow along with the Republican Plan or take action on his own. He could stop enforcing important Obamacare regulations, preventing people from enrolling, denying the government subsidy or changing plan requirements. CNN writes that most politicians believe he will take care of those already enrolled for 2017 and start the repeal process in 2018.
2) Modify existing law that inhibits the sale of health insurance across state lines. As long as the plan purchased complies with state requirements, any vendor ought to be able to offer insurance in any state. By allowing full competition in this market, insurance costs will go down and consumer satisfaction will go up.
This section appears to be the most popular among the Republican Party. The main purpose of this change is to make it more accessible for Insurance Companies to provide basic insurance coverage in all states, even in those that have strict Insurance regulations and have extensive laws that Insurance Companies need to comply with. Some requirements relate to offering more coverage to patients, offering specific benefits (like accepting patients with preexisting conditions: insuring people already sick that usually would not be able to obtain insurance because of the high cost of treating their illnesses) or having a specific network or specific doctor payment rules and compliance policies. Operating nationally presents logistical and financial problem for many Insurance Companies that cannot afford. It remains to be seen how this change could help reduce prices as many companies that could have expanded to other states in 2015-2016 and increase their profits have decided to stay in their original markets since Obamacare began.
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3) Allow individuals to fully deduct health insurance premium payments from their tax returns under the current tax system. Businesses are allowed to take these deductions so why wouldn’t Congress allow individuals the same exemptions? As we allow the free market to provide insurance coverage opportunities to companies and individuals, we must also make sure that no one slips through the cracks simply because they cannot afford insurance. We must review basic options for Medicaid and work with states to ensure that those who want healthcare coverage can have it.
This Tax benefit could be similar to the subsidy given by the government today under Obamacare to enrollees based on income and number of dependents (among other factors). A Tax Bracket formula will have to be put in place to calculate the percentage of Tax Credit each person could obtain from paying Health Insurance, including Companies (Currently employers receive a Tax Credit of about 50% of the amount paid for employees’ health insurance premiums). Depending on how this formula is devised it could be similar to what we have today under Obamacare, people with lower incomes and more dependents receive a higher subsidy than other groups or it could be totally different by providing the same tax credit to everyone independent of income and family size. Lastly, review of Medicaid eligibility (usually offered to pregnant women, children, elderly, disabled individuals and parents in unique circumstances) is also part of this point, with this change states will decide how to use the money received for medicaid help and who will benefit from it. How or when this will be done has not been determined.
Next week I will talk about the 4 remaining points.