New report released amid overwhelming disapproval of AHCA
The American Health Care Act (AHCA) isn’t doing so hot with Americans.
Since its introduction in May—two months after the first draft of the AHCA famously failed to pass—Americans of all political leanings have panned the GOP’s answer to former President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare.
The greatest change that the AHCA brings is a whopping $1.1 trillion reduction in federal funding for public health care — a change that puts many working class families at a disadvantage.
A new report released on Wednesday, June 14 by The Commonwealth Fund found that while the AHCA (nicknamed Trumpcare) would bolster the economy and boost employment at first, it wouldn’t last in the long run.
The GOP’s core selling point of the AHCA involves the repealing of several taxes imposed by Obamacare. This reduction in taxes would temporarily raise the federal deficit and create up to 864,000 more jobs in 2018.
However, researchers predict that by 2026, about 924,000 people would lose their jobs, with about 725,000 of those jobs belonging to the health care sector.
Health care jobs are essential in economic maintenance in the U.S., with hospitals and clinics providing a major portion of jobs. Health care makes up about 18 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP), and a major cut to federal funding to health care could be fiscally detrimental, according to the report.
“Health funds directly pay hospitals, doctors’ offices, and other providers; this is the direct effect of federal funding,” the report read. “These facilities use revenue to pay their employees and buy goods and services, such as rent or equipment; this is the indirect effect of the initial spending.”
The study also found economic disadvantages attached to the GOP health care bill: gross state products (the total value of a state’s exports) would reduce to $93 billion and business output would decrease by $148 billion.
One of the biggest casualties would be the income-based program Medicaid, which 70 million Americans rely on for their health care. Because of the major cuts to the public health care sector, Medicaid would be forced to seize expansions of the program.
“The AHCA significantly reduces federal funding for Medicaid. It lowers federal match funding for the 31 states and District of Columbia that expanded Medicaid, encouraging them to discontinue their expansions,” Wednesday’s report read.
Earlier this month, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated that the AHCA would drastically increase the number of uninsured Americans under the age of 65 by 14 million in 2018. By 2023, that number would reach 23 million.
“Over time, it would become more difficult for less healthy people (including people with preexisting medical conditions) in those states to purchase insurance because their premiums would continue to increase rapidly,” the CBO wrote in their findings.
Because of all these swift changes to the American health care system, the AHCA has garnered an overwhelmingly unpopular reputation, according to various polls.
Just after the AHCA passed the House on May 11, a POLITICO/Morning Consultant poll that surveyed nearly 2,000 registered voters found that 38 percent of Americans approve of the AHCA, an approval rating that dropped four points from the week before.
That same day, Quinnapiac University released a poll that found that only 21 percent of Americans approve of the GOP health care bill. That poll — which surveyed 1,000 registered voters — found that disapproval was consistent across all demographic groups: race, gender, age, political party and education level.
According to a YouGov poll that surveyed 1,000 Republicans, Democrats and Independents in May, only about 31 percent of Americans favor the AHCA; in comparison, 45 percent favored the ACA.
Senate to decide AHCA’s fate
The Republican-majority House of Representatives passed the AHCA on May 24 in a narrow 217-213 vote, giving the Senate a green light to vote on it.
The AHCA barely made it past the Republican-majority House, but members of the Senate have expressed assertions that it will not pass in their chamber of Congress.
Should all Democrats in the Senate vote against the AHCA, the GOP could only afford to lose two Republican votes.
But Republicans senators who are against the AHCA have expressed that they would rather negotiate with pro-AHCA congressmen by drafting their own health care bill.
“The safest thing to say is there will be a Senate bill, but it will look at what the House has done and see how much of that we can incorporate in a product that works for us in reconciliation,” Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Missouri) said as quoted by the Washington Examiner.
There is no set date scheduled for the Senate to vote on the current incarnation of the AHCA, as of press time. (Klarize Medenilla/AJ Press)