The American Health Care Act (AHCA) narrowly passed the Republican House of Representatives on Thursday. The bipartisan Congressional Budget Office has yet to analyze how this bill will impact human health and insurance costs.
But analyses by the Wall Street Journal, Kaiser Family Foundation and AARP indicate that the AHCA will reduce overall healthcare access while also raising health insurance premiums.
50- to 64-year-olds: The AHCA empowers insurance companies to charge people 50 to 64 years of age six times the premium charged to a millennia, according to AARP. The Kaiser Family Foundation projects that people in this age group could see their healthcare premiums soar from as low as $1,000 per year to over $40,000 a year.
Children: Twenty-one percent of our nation’s children live in poverty. That fact is shocking enough. The AHCA strips them of Medicaid funds. It also slashes funding for children needing special education assistance.
People with pre-existing conditions: The AHCA allows insurance companies to price discriminate against those with pre-existing conditions. People with cancer, for example, may see their care leap to unaffordable levels.
But you do not have to have cancer or a heart condition to quality for having a pre-existing condition. The pre-existing conditions that an insurance company can use to raise health insurance premiums include:
Working Americans: The AHCA allows states and companies to gut the services provided through an employer insurance plan. It frees companies from having to provide insurance for prescription drugs, hospitalization and maternity care.
There is a path for achieving both universal, quality health care and affordability.
The first step is to reform the insurance system that empowers drug companies and healthcare providers with monopoly and oligopoly pricing powers. We do not buy car, home or life insurance through monopolies. Why are we buying health insurance through a system defined by rising prices, complex pricing, complex contract terms and claim denials handled by the insurance company?
Secondly, Americans must adopt a healthier lifestyle. Our lifestyles are driving healthcare costs to record levels. We are in a national weight crisis that has created an obesity and diabetes epidemic. Our lifestyles are a recipe for heart disease and cancer.
The two solutions to rising healthcare costs are both in our hands.
We must put politics aside and vote for candidates who support health insurance industry reform.
We must also take control of our own health.
Vote and act, or suffer the consequences of the American Health Care Act.
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Bill Roth is a cleantech business pioneer having led teams that developed the first hydrogen fueled Prius and a utility scale, non-thermal solar power plant. Using his CEO and senior officer experiences, Roth has coached hundreds of CEOs and business owners on how to develop and implement projects that win customers and cut costs while reducing environmental impacts. As a professional economist, Roth has written numerous books including his best selling The Secret Green Sauce (available on Amazon) that profiles proven sustainable best practices in pricing, marketing and operations. His most recent book, The Boomer Generation Diet (available on Amazon) profiles his humorous personal story on how he used sustainable best practices to lose 40 pounds and still enjoy Happy Hour!