MAHALIA SMITH | CONTRIBUTING WRITER
Republican House members released the details of the American Health Care Act or ACHA, a bill to replace the Affordable Care Act on March 6. The bill is struggling in the House, with critics on both sides of the aisle opposing the bill.
As written, the ACHA will bring major changes to health care, but many elements of the ACA will remain. The bill repeals penalties for people who do not have healthcare, and Medicaid will be cut. The ACA expanded Medicaid eligibility to include “non-elderly adults within 138 percent of the federal poverty line” per state options. The new bill proposes a per-capita cap per state on Medicaid to limit its growth.
Under the ACHA, single adults and couples that are filed jointly are given tax credits at a flat rate determined by age and income. Tax credits begin to fade out at $75,000 income, and will be reduced to zero at various incomes depending on age and marital status. People will be able to use their tax credits to pay for healthcare, so long as the plan they choose does not cover abortion. Under both the ACA and ACHA, federal funds cannot be used for abortion unless the mother’s life is in danger, or in cases of rape or incest per the Hyde Amendment.
The new bill states small employers with healthcare plans including abortion outside of the Hyde amendment will not receive tax credits.
Another big change the ACHA could bring is the defunding of Planned Parenthood. A summary of the bill on the Kaiser Family Foundation’s website states Medicaid funding of Planned Parenthood will be suspended for one year depending on the date on enactment.
The Congressional Budget Office estimates the limits on Medicaid will cut the federal deficit by $337 billion by 2026—but around 14 million more people will be without insurance bringing the total number of uninsured people to 24 million.