Health insurance is tricky business. We know that first hand. It’s such a complex issue that it’s hard to get an instant download of the latest going on in D.C. in terms of healthcare reform. It’s probably tempting to tune out some of the headlines these days, but as a consumer of health care, it is more critical than ever to stay informed. With Americans spending more than $3 trillion a year on their health each year, this is an issue worthy of attention on the Hill and at home. Here’s what you need to know.
So what happened to the American Health Care Bill?
The technical answer is that House Speaker Paul Ryan pulled the bill from the floor upon the realization that they weren’t going to have enough votes to pass. Although there is a Republican majority in the House, there weren’t enough votes because Republicans in the Freedom Caucus stood up against the bill and Democrats weren’t exactly running across party lines to support the AHCA.
As many would assert, the ACHA was drafted at hyper-speed and wasn’t the air tight answer to Obamacare’s shortcomings. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the ACHA would have left 14 million fewer people uninsured in the first year and 24 million by 2026 because of deep Medicaid cuts for low-income demographics. The deductibles were more expensive for many, the subsidies shifted, and the CBO reported that in general, medical costs for older people would have increased while costs for young people would decrease.
Is there an ideal solution?
This is a loaded question. Basically, the root of the problem is that healthcare costs are sky high and Americans want to consume more healthcare than we can collectively pay for. That makes policy drafting incredibly challenging, even in the event that both parties were on the same side of the fence on the issue (and they are not). Unfortunately for consumers, most policy would either give people less of what they need or the costs would continue to rise in terms of premiums and deductibles. What’s more, even if a solution does pass, revenues for either doctors, hospitals, insurers or big pharma would decrease. So no matter what, it’s unlikely a policy could make everyone happy, even in the most idealistic circumstances.
We feel that a little competition and free market strategy could do a lot of good in the healthcare world. Other industries seem to have caught on to this consumer-centric behavior and the health industry continues to lag.
In an interview this week, Trump said that for the foreseeable future, Obamacare is the law of the land. He eluded to the fact that he was moving on and wanted to wait and see what happened with Obamacare.
Don’t panic, there’s still room for progress here. Our gut feeling is that although the American Health Care Act wasn’t the answer, it’s still part of a bigger conversation as we work toward progress and a better system. The first step toward a better health care system is talking about it. The main thing most agree on is that the current system isn’t sustainable and improvements need to be made, whether it’s a new bill entirely or a revamp of the Affordable Care Act.
We hope that as we move forward, healthcare reform can truly be about policy, not politics. Until then, our team at Take Command Health is here to keep you informed and armed with the information you need to make smart decisions about your health and health insurance.
Click here to read our CEO’s take on what could be improved with the Affordable Care Act and what he hopes to see in the future.
I wrote this blog because I care about ideas (big and little) that can help fix our healthcare system. I used to work on projects for Kaiser Permanente and the Parkland Health & Hospital System so I've seen the system inside and out. It's so important that consumers keep up with industry shifts and changing health insurance regulations. I'm also Take Command Health's Content Editor and a busy mom. Learn more about me and connect with me on our about us page. Thanks!