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The Wrong Prescription

Posted on March 7, 2017

The American Health Care Act (AHCA), which was introduced March 6 in the U.S. House of Representatives, would be a major step backwards for Louisiana and for the hundreds of thousands of residents who have recently gained access to quality, affordable health coverage.

This legislation is problematic for several reasons:

  1. The bill benefits the wealthy and healthy at the expense of those who are low-income and sick.
    • It expands the tax benefits of health savings accounts, which disproportionally benefit those with higher incomes, while repealing the income-based tax credits to help low-income individuals pay for coverage.
  2. The bill would make coverage less accessible and affordable.
    • It would introduce new barriers to care by penalizing those who do not maintain continuous insurance coverage and reducing the amount of financial assistance available to help low-income consumers pay for coverage.
  3. The bill would increase out-of-pocket costs while eliminating many of the ACA’s benefits and consumer protections.
    • It would repeal consumer protections, such as actuarial value requirements and essential health benefits for Medicaid plans, which would result in many consumers paying more for less.
  4. The bill would make deep cuts to Medicaid and would cap federal funding for the program – which would result in reduced access to coverage and benefits and shift costs to the states.
    • It would effectively end Medicaid expansion by winding down its funding after 2020 and cause harm to millions of seniors, people with disabilities and children.
    • It would create per capita caps for Medicaid, which are unfair to Louisiana. Such caps would lock in inequities in per enrollee costs across states and leave Louisiana at a permanent disadvantage in funding its Medicaid program.

One in 5 working-age Louisianans rely on the Affordable Care Act for quality, affordable coverage, and the AHCA will leave many of them worse off. LBP will continue to analyze and report on the specific impacts the American Health Care Act would have in Louisiana.

 

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