This Thursday, March 23, marks the seventh anniversary of the Affordable Care Act (aka “Obamacare”) — the landmark federal law that secured and guaranteed health insurance for millions of previously uninsured Americans and saved tens of thousands of lives. Unfortunately however, Thursday is also the day on which leaders of the U.S. House of Representatives currently plan to vote on a “replacement” for the ACA that they have dubbed the “American Health Care Act” and that many outside of Washington have come to refer to as “Trumpcare.”
If actually enacted into law, Trumpcare would have disastrous implication for millions of vulnerable people and the economy as a whole – especially in light of the findings released last week by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. As experts at the North Carolina Justice Center’s Health Advocacy Project explained last week:
The evaluation shows that the GOP proposal would take us backward in history to a time when millions of families nationwide lack health insurance coverage.
In fact, the CBO found that 14 million people would lose coverage next year alone. By 2026, 24 million Americans would be newly uninsured.
Under this proposal, not only would North Carolinians be unable to access the health care they need, more families would be at-risk of financial catastrophe and medical debt without the protection of health insurance coverage. The GOP proposal would radically restructure the Medicaid program, cutting $880 billion in nationwide spending over 10 years. This would pass the buck to North Carolina’s state budget to handle the costs of caring for the state’s most vulnerable residents, including children, seniors, and people with disabilities. It would also repeal the ACA’s premium tax credits—which nearly half a million North Carolinians rely on each year to afford private plans—and replace them with an age-related voucher, in turn shifting health care costs onto low- and moderate-income North Carolinians.”
Today, the Health Advocacy Project shared even more disturbing data on Trumpcare and its likely impacts in North Carolina – including the actual numbers of North Carolinians in each of the state’s congressional districts who would lose financial assistance in purchasing health insurance. This is from the statement that accompanied the release of those data:
Under the American Health Care Act, each of North Carolina’s congressional districts stands to lose coverage gains achieved under the Affordable Care Act, according to new analysis from the NC Justice Center’s Health Advocacy Project.
“Of the more than half a million North Carolinians who enrolled in a Marketplace plan this year, over 90 percent of them are relying on the Affordable Care Act’s premium subsidies to afford their plans,” said Brendan Riley, policy analyst with the Health Advocacy Project. “The American Health Care Act would drastically cut these subsidies, reducing the help that thousands of North Carolinians in every congressional district currently receive, and pricing them out of coverage.”
The new fact sheets and interactive table show how many constituents in each of North Carolina’s 13 congressional districts stand to lose financial help that makes private health insurance coverage affordable.
Under the American Health Care Act, the average tax credit in North Carolina will be $5,360 lower than the average credit under the ACA, putting coverage at risk for hundreds of thousands of constituents in districts across the state who rely upon the ACA’s premium tax credit to afford their health insurance coverage. The AHCA would repeal that financial assistance with a flat, age-related tax credit that does not adjust for income or health plan costs. Nearly 45,000 constituents in the state’s 6th district, for example, are enrolled in a Marketplace plan, more than 90 percent of whom rely on the ACA premium tax credit.
‘In particular, the North Carolinians who disproportionately need more health care services, such as adults over the age of 50, would be left behind by the American Health Care Act,’ Riley said.
Overall, far too many residents will find coverage unaffordable and fewer will remain insured, risking the state’s overall progress in reducing the uninsured rate since passage of the ACA. There has been a 50 percent reduction in the uninsured rate in North Carolina’s 2nd district alone — progress that will be at risk and could be reversed by the new law.
The American Health Care Act would also eliminate Medicaid Expansion. In the 1st District, there are 27,700 people living in the coverage gap who could become eligible for quality health coverage if North Carolina closed the gap via Medicaid Expansion. Under the AHCA, these consumers will remain without affordable coverage options.”
The bottom line: Absent dramatic changes, Trumpcare promises to be disaster for huge numbers of people across North Carolina and the nation. And the fact that it continues to advance despite these damning data represents a startling triumph of extreme right-wing ideology over facts, common sense and basic humanity.
Click here to access the factsheets for all 13 North Carolina congressional districts.