What might healthcare changes
in Washington, D.C. mean to you?
With all of the legislation being discussed in Washington D.C., it's important to learn more about how
changes to the Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act may affect you.
Much of what the 2017 Graham-Cassidy Healthcare proposal does will depend on what state you live in, because states will receive different amounts of money and will use the block grants differently. But the bill has some major changes that will affect everyone.
The following information provided by
Eliza Collins, political reporter
for USA Today and Politico.
Q1. Will I have to buy insurance?
The Affordable Care Act put in place a mandate to buy insurance, with a tax penalty if you are uninsured. Graham-Cassidy would get rid of that mandate and the penalty. The mandate was created to ensure that young and healthy people would buy insurance, offsetting the costs of insuring older and sicker people. Health insurers have said another mechanism is needed to keep insurance markets stable if the mandate is eliminated.
Q2. Will employers be required to provide health insurance?
The bill would repeal the penalties for large employers that fail to offer affordable insurance to workers.
Q3. Do insurance companies have to sell you insurance if you have a pre-existing condition?
Insurance companies still won’t be able to deny coverage based on pre-existing conditions, but states can waive the provision that caps what they can charge. They can also waive certain mandated coverage under Obamacare, such as maternity care, mental health services and hospitalization.
Q4. What happens to private insurance subsidies?
The bill would end subsidies in 2020 for those who purchase insurance on their own rather than getting it through an employer or government program. Under Obamacare, people earning up to 400% of poverty get subsidies to reduce their premiums. Those earning up to 250% of poverty get a break on deductibles and other out-of-pocket expenses.
Q5. What happens to states that expanded Medicaid?
Thirty-one states and the District of Columbia expanded Medicaid under Obamacare to people earning up to 138% of poverty. The Graham-Cassidy legislation would immediately stop more states from expanding Medicaid and would end the existing expansions in 2020. Instead, states would receive, through 2026, a block grant to devise their own way of helping residents who had gotten Obamacare coverage either through Medicaid or with private insurance subsidies.
Q6. What happens to other Medicaid funding and how will it be distributed to the states?
The legislation would change the way traditional Medicaid is funded. Instead of reimbursing states for most of the cost of caring for Medicaid recipients, the federal government would send states a per capita allotment with limited growth. States could also elect to have a Medicaid work requirement, though disabled or pregnant people would be exempt.
States that expanded Medicaid, or have more people receiving private insurance subsidies through the Obamacare marketplaces, would lose funding to other states. Those that didn't expand Medicaid, or have fewer people getting help through a marketplace, could initially see an increase in funding. But all states would lose money in the long run and during recessions or other times of increased need, according to the left-leaning Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
Q7. Would young people be allowed to stay on their parents' plans?
The plan would leave in place the provision that allows people under age 26 to stay on their parents' health care plans.