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Trumpcare Will Mean Less Care, More Cost For Poor and Elderly

If the Republican-backed Affordable Health Care Act (AHCA) is passed, millions of Americans currently enrolled in Obamacare would lose their insurance and see fewer benefits and higher costs, especially if you are poor and working class.

Research by the Commonwealth Institute for Fiscal Analysis (CIFA) says thousands of Virginia’s poorest and vulnerable residents currently covered by the ACA or Obamacare, will be harmed by the proposed new health plan which is designed to replace the current ACA.

Last week the Congressional Budget Office released a report stating that 24 million fewer people would have coverage within a decade and the level of the uninsured would jump 14 million next year, if the GOP’s health care blueprint is put in place by then.

In Virginia according to CIFA policy analyst Michael Cassidy, 31 percent or more of the 327,000 people covered by the ACA in Virginia would lose their coverage under the Republican plan.

“The impact will be significant,” said Cassidy. “It is to safe to characterize it that way because thousands of Virginians are at risk … it will be like a tidal wave.”

The proposed AHCA removes the individual and employer mandates and reduces the tax credits and subsidies that poor and working class people use to buy insurance under the current ACA in the Virginia.

One of the most hated part of the ACA was the individual mandate to force people to buy insurance or pay a penalty via the tax system. Using slight-of-hand, the GOP’s AHCA will impose a penalty of a 30 percent surcharge if you drop insurance and seek to reacquire it.

Healthcare advocates call it a “bait and switch” tactic the Republicans have not fully explained to supporters of their efforts to “repeal and replace” Obamacare with Trumpcare.

Now 319,000 people use a tax credit in Virginia under the ACA, based on their income, to acquire healthcare insurance.

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The ACHA would use age. The older you, are the higher it will be.

The ACA restricts charging older people more for coverage. The plan the Republicans will be voting in the House this week, would allow healthcare insurance companies to charge older adults up to five times what they charge younger people. The ACA barred the companies from charging more than three times.

Under the ACA, insurance companies had to use profits to directly cover their clients instead of using it for operating cost, notably high salaries. That rule would die under the AHCA.

Gaylene Kanoyton has organized educational forums on the ACA over the past four years and Celebrate Healthcare program to enroll people in Hampton Roads.

To date, Celebrate Healthcare has enrolled over 15,000 and educated over 25,000-plus citizens.

Kanoyton said that despite the quickness in which the ACHA has been pushed through the current U.S. House of Representatives it is not sure if it will be passed as it stands now,
She said there will be an open enrollment period for the ACA starting November 1, despite the current push to pass the AHCA.

“Even if it does passes, nothing will change immediately,” said Kanoyton. “It took them three years to get the Affordable Care Act up and running. There would be at least that length of time for the Republicans to set up administration enrollment process and policies.

Plus we are not sure how many of the GOP plan will become reality. Now is too early.”

By Leonard E. Colvin
Chief Reporter

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