Lively town hall meetings between state representatives and constituents have been erupting all around the country as citizens grapple with initiatives put forth by the Trump administration.
One of the most debated issues centers around a promise that has been a staple of Trump’s presidency: the desire to repeal and replace ObamaCare.
Constituents are worried about a potential loss of health care coverage that could come with such a change.
“I have coverage to make sure I don’t die,” said student Mike Carlson at a town hall meeting with lawmakers at Middle Tennessee State University. “And you want to take away this coverage -- and have nothing to replace it with? How can I trust [the government] to do anything that’s in our interest at all?”
According to the U.S Department of Health and Human Services, under the Affordable Care Act, some 21 million Americans were covered.
That number could soon change, as the Republican party has unveiled its new reformed health care plan - the American Health Care Act.
Although just introduced, the bill has faced criticism and scrutiny from both Democrats and Republicans alike.
Republican senator Tom Cotton expressed his views as he tweeted the bill should “start over” in its process.
“House healthcare bill can’t pass Senate without major changes,” Cotton said. “To my friends in House: pause, start over. Get it right, don’t get it fast.”
Groups including the American Hospital Association, the Association of American Medical Colleges, the Catholic Health Association of the United States and the Children’s Hospital association all said that would not support the bill “as currently written.”
The new bill has yet to be passed and it is already being compared to its predecessor - the Affordable Care Act. But are they really all that similar?
AHCA has a couple of major differences from ACA.
For starters the bill eliminates the tax penalty for those people who are uninsured and chose to keep it that way.
According to CBS news, the new bill also “requires insures to charge a 30 percent increase in premiums for consumers who allow their health care coverage to lapse.
While this applies to all consumers, it could end up affecting more consumers who sign up for insurance once they have an accident or are diagnosed with an illness.”
This means that those with preexisting conditions will get charged a high premium rate.
The health bill passed its first trial as it was recently cleared by the House Ways and Means committee after an 18-hour session.
The Congressional Budget Office released a report stating that the new plan being proposed by Republicans will increase the number of people without healthcare to 24 million people by 2026, while also cutting $337 billion off the federal budget.
The report, released Monday, also stated that the amount of uninsured Americans would be 14 million people higher next year compared to what they would expect under Obamacare.
In a statement to the media addressing the report, U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price said White House officials “disagree strenuously with the report that was put out.”
The CBO expects premiums to increase to 20 percent for individuals in 2018 and 2019.
After this increase, premiums could go down.. By 2026 the report expects average premiums to be around 10 percent lower than under the ACA.
The jump in the amount of people without insurance next year is credited to people choosing not to buy health insurance after being required to buy it or face tax penalties under the current system. In later years, that number would continue to rise because of the changes that the plan makes to Medicaid, according to the report.
“In the past, the CBO score has really been meaningless,” White House Chief Economic Adviser Gary Cohn told Fox News. “They have said that many more people will be insured than are actually insured.”