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States brace for big decisions under GOP health care changes

08 Mai 2017

The House of Representatives passed legislation to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act on May 4, 2017.

Millions of Americans are uncertain about their future as a new health care bill heads to the Senate. And it shifts power from Washington back to the states and, most importantly, back to you, the patient. If the bill becomes law in its current form, that could mean survivors of rape and domestic violence could face higher insurance bills. But the free market approach to this problem says, "Actually, a lot of the things that the government is doing to provide health care to people are preventing people from accessing health care".

"The American Health Care Act begins the process of increasing meaningful medical access for individuals and families across the country by returning focus to the doctor-patient relationship".

Katherine Hempstead, who analyzes health policy at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, said she does not expect any states to be able to afford keeping the Medicaid expansion in place.

ALISON KODJAK, BYLINE: Hi, Kelly.

He likened Thursday's vote to "scoring a touchdown in the first quarter in a football game", and said that "nothing is definite".

Local doctors said that SC saw a big spike in the number of people getting insurance when the Affordable Care Act was implemented. Obamacare also offers pretty generous subsidies to help lower-income people pay for their premiums and also to buy down some of their costs like deductibles. Apparently, the word "essential" wasn't enough to convince House Republicans that women depend on these services. People don't have to have insurance. He buys insurance for himself on the individual marketplace, and the Affordable Care Act has made that possible, he said.

The number of uninsured continues to rise as fewer people enroll in the individual market.

MCEVERS: So what about quality? I don't care who you are - we're all going to have a pre-existing condition at some point in our lives.

Cannon: I don't take positions on legislation, but Republicans have traditionally neglected health care as an issue. Under Obamacare, there are a lot of consumer protections.

Loosening up the requirements on pricing to let insurers charge more for people with varying conditions moves us even closer to this image.

According to Marino, the passage of the bill lowers premiums for families and business owners and does not eliminate coverage for preexisting conditions and prohibits lifetime limits on coverage. AHA's stance is that it is vital to protect Medicaid and members "urge the Senate to restart and reset the discussion in a manner that provides coverage to those who need it and ensures that the most vulnerable are not left behind", the statement reads. "Even if the Upton amendment wins votes, the staggeringly large funding gap could leave many Americans with pre-existing conditions stranded outside the high-risk pool without affordable options for coverage".

MCEVERS: And what about the poor? Gov. Andrew Cuomo said such cuts would reduce support for hospitals, nursing homes and 7 million New Yorkers who rely on the program.

KODJAK: Yeah. And that's a big change, too.

Dr. Diane Horvath-Cosper, an Advocacy Fellow at Physicians for Reproductive Health, told ELLE US, 'A majority of people who get pregnant identify as women, so that's gender discrimination, straight up'.

The Republican's replacement bill for the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the American Health Care Act (AHCA) is garnering a chorus of groans from the nonprofit healthcare community, with organizations perturbed - in particular - by the plan's proposed cuts to Medicaid. Maternity care is covered by Medicaid, and about half the births in the US are paid for by Medicaid, according to an estimate from the George Washington University School of Public Health.

MCEVERS: NPR's Alison Kodjak, thank you very much.

States brace for big decisions under GOP health care changes