The proposed American Health Care Act is supposed to be the Republican answer to Obamacare. AHCA is supposed to be better, cheaper, and provide coverage for more people. It sounds too good to be true.
The Republican bill would steer federal tax credits away from lower-income consumers and will undo some of the Affordable Care Act’s changes to the insurance market. Specifically the “individual mandate” which imposes financial penalties on people who decline to get coverage. The reality of “coverage for more people” is approximately 14 million losing coverage in the first year. That number would continue to grow reaching 52 million in the year 2026 compared to the 28 million under the Affordable Care Act.
The American Health care Act also plans on limiting Medicaid payments to Planned Parenthood. AHCA would block $178 million in Medicaid reimbursements to Planned Parenthood in 2017.
Why are they targeting Planned Parenthood? Is it because of the institution itself?
No, it is because of abortions. Planned Parenthood does provide abortions but it is not funded by federal funds. Currently under Obamacare, you can’t use federal funds towards abortion but you can still use federal funds at Planned Parenthood.With AHCA , you would need to find a new provider.
The plan technically cuts off funding to Planned Parenthood for only a year. If they stop providing abortions, they will be eligible for Medicaid reimbursements again. Cecile Richards, the president of Planned Parenthood states that there is no chance that will happen.
Republican lawmakers and clinicians have stated that if Planned Parenthood does close, other health providers would take on those patients. Community health clinics say that they are already overwhelmed without the extra patients. A Republican clinic in Texas tried to prove that they were able to compensate the extra patients but proved otherwise.
Texas gave $1.6 million to an anti-abortion organization called the Heidi Group to prove that small clinics that specialize in women’s health can support the extra patients but not offer abortions. The point was to prove that the world wouldn’t miss Planned Parenthood if they closed but it didn’t really get that point across.
Eight months later, the Heidi Group has little to show. The nonprofit has done little outreach. They promised to help promote services by using Facebook, PSA or creating 1-800 numbers to help women find providers. The clinics haven’t even updated their websites.
Carole Everett is a prominent anti abortion activist, influential in Texas legislature and leads the Heidi Group. Everett has stated that some community clinics are not cooperating. “We worked on one Facebook site for three months and they didn’t want to do it. And we worked on websites and they didn’t want to do it. We can’t force them.”
“The public health community has been abundantly clear that they cannot absorb the 2.5 million patients that Planned Parenthood sees each year.” Richards said. “And particularly for women who have found a lump in their breast or need birth control immediately, and maybe a community health center can see them in a month or two months, that’s not good enough.”