Financing Health Insurance
Health care is not a right in the U.S. That is, unless you are sixty-five years of age or older. At that age, you go on Medicare. With Medicare, the federal government pays most of your health bills. Most older Americans buy private insurance. It helps them to pay for health expenses not covered by Medicare.
In general, Republicans want people to make their own health care decisions. They believe in folks paying for at least part of their health insurance. With their money.
The Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) had one big feature. The government helped lower income people buy their insurance. They did this by a subsidy in the form of a tax credit.
The Republican plan would replace the income-based subsidy. It has a “fixed” tax credit based on age. The amount of the subsidy would be the same for most people. Up to a certain point, families with lower and higher incomes would get the same tax credit amount.
Democrats believe that a fixed flat tax credit based on age would benefit those with more money (who tend to be older). The lower income would pay more of their income than the higher income.
The Republican plan is a non-starter for ‘tea party’ Republicans. They see any tax credit for anyone as just another handout.
The rest of the bill keeps some elements of the Obama program. Insurance companies will still have to cover pre-existing conditions. Insurance companies will still cover young adults living with their parents. The bill also ends some of the taxes levied to pay for the Obamacare program.
Opposition to the bill is coming from conservative groups. Some are calling it ‘Obamacare Lite.’ The insurance companies have not yet figured out how the bill would affect them. Some Republicans say leadership is rushing the bill through. Democrats are against the bill. Just as Republicans were against the ACA. Nobody knows how much the bill would. Or how many people it would cover.
Resource: The New York Times March 6, 2017
Coming, Health care for low-income families.