The American Health Care Act Passes

By Peter Bloch

On Thursday, the House of Representatives voted 217 to 213 in favor of repealing and replacing Obamacare for “The American Health Care Act.”

I’m sure it comes to you OESians as no surprise that of the 217 representatives, our four Democratic senators (Blumenauer, Bonamici, DeFazio, Schrader) voted against this change while our only Republican House representative (Walden) voted for this repeal.

For anyone who wishes to learn more, I recommend that you visit the official page, here, but without further ado, I present the main points of this new bill:

The greatest uproar about this bill will likely come from section 103: “No Federal funds provided from a program referred to in this subsection that is considered direct spending for any year may be made available to a State for payments to a prohibited entity, whether made directly to the prohibited entity or through a managed care organization under contract with the State.” Effectively, this passage states that organizations such as Planned Parenthood will no longer be subsidized by the government, which will make it the first time since the Nixon administration in 1970.

And then, well, there’s the healthcare portion. Overall, a projected 24 million Americans will lose their health insurance over the next decade. The plan does address this, and will replace most Medicare expansions with tax credits based upon income and age. Overall though, many Americans will still lose some amount of coverage. For this reason, insurance costs are likely to fluctuate within the next ten years before dropping eventually, and legally, insurers will be able to charge extra (premiums) for pre-existing medical conditions that make one a high-risk individual.

But for every rainstorm, there is a rainbow. According to Stephen Entin, senior fellow of the Tax Foundation, repealing the “Net Investment Income Tax” (a repeal which is part of the new care act) would boost the American economy by 0.7%. He continues by saying, “after-tax incomes in the bottom 80% of the income distribution would be about 0.65% higher than with the tax in place.” While some doubt the emphasis this will affect the average American person, it will undoubtedly stimulate money flow within our economy, and likely cause major cumulative benefits in the future.

In addition, this bill would remove the tax on over-the-counter medications, prescription medications, health insurance, and –– oddly enough –– tanning. I am entirely unopposed to these changes because there is no catch. Simply put: we will be paying less for drugs and tanning.

Obviously, I have not gone over the bill in it’s entirety, but hopefully you now know enough to understand the current discussions. To become law, the American Health Care Act must pass through senate, but it is very possible –– even likely –– that it will, as Republicans hold a majority there, too. The gist of this bill is to transfer more money from the spending of the government back to the American people (the central dogma of the Republican party), but still many Conservatives, including me, are skeptical that such a sudden shift will not usher an entirely desired result. The largest point of controversy is that we simply don’t know enough of the ramifications, and it could swing either way at this point.