Not too long ago, the House Freedom Caucus refused to support the proposed Obamacare repeal effort known as the American Healthcare Act (AHCA). The group felt that the initial bill did not repeal enough of the mandates put in place by the Affordable Healthcare Act. In other words, they don’t think insurance carriers should be forced to provide certain coverage as federal law.
Wednesday of this week on April 26, the Freedom Caucus got their wish with a proposal they can get behind known as the McArthur Amendment. So did the new proposal completely strip all Obamacare mandates? Of course not. What it sneakily did was defer a waiver option to the states in regards to many of the ACA facets, such maternity care and mental health treatment.
Considering that one out of every five Americans suffers from a mental health disorder of some sort, it makes you re-think Trump as a “people’s president”.
Even pre-existing conditions wouldn’t be fully protected under the new amendment. While states could not fully waive the mandate for providing coverage for these individuals, it does not protect from a premium hike.
With those two initiatives alone, I personally as an otherwise healthy and active young woman could see my generalized anxiety medication coverage stripped away and my costs to live a high quality of life skyrocket.
It could get tricky for Republicans to fully push the changes through, though, considering that a majority of American voters, including those in the Trump camp, feel that the pre-existing condition mandate should remain at the federal level.
On the bright side, states cannot obtain waivers at random. They must be able to prove at least one (note: not ALL) of the following:
- Average statewide premiums will go down
- Premiums will also stabilize
- More citizens of the state will have insurance
- Additional health options will be provided within the state
All that said, it’s likely this is not the final rendition we see before, and if, a replacement plan is finally agreed upon. Until then, it’s important that all Americans keep an eye out on the state of our nation’s healthcare. Even the healthiest are affected financially and care-wise when the coverage of the most high-risk population is tinkered with.