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The American Health Care Act
(AHCA) of 2017, a.k.a. "Trumpcare"

Part 1

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health care symbols

Webmaster's comment [bias alert]:

In my opinion, existing and proposed standards of health care in the U.S. is a major violation the Golden Rule. This is the prime behavior directive found in all of the world's major religions. In Christianity, Yeshua of Nazareth (Jesus Christ) is quoted as expressing the rule as:

"Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." (Matthew 7:12)

In many cases, people in the U.S. obtain only as much health care as they can afford to pay for. In other highly developed countries, health care is universal. In Canada, for example, which shares the longest undefended international border in the world with the United States, the Canadian Health Care web site describes the Canadian health care system as:

"... a group of socialized health insurance plans that provides coverage to all Canadian citizens. It is publicly funded and administered on a provincial or territorial basis, within guidelines set by the federal government. ... Canada does boast one of the highest life expectancies (about 80 years) and lowest infant morality rates of industrialized countries, which many attribute to Canada's health care system." 1

In contrast, the U.S. has a lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality rate, and higher maternal mortality rate than Canada. Many attribute this to the lack of a universal health care system in the U.S. Poor people often cannot afford to spend much money for health care. One result is that for pregnant women who are poor, their first pre-natal visit with a physician is often when they are in labor and about to deliver. Surprisingly, although there is a very active pro-life movement in the U.S., they focus almost exclusively on preventing women's access to abortion, and largely ignore infant and maternal mortality. They seem to lose interest once a fetus becomes a newborn.

People who write about changes in health care legislation in the U.S. always seem to emphasize the number of persons who would lose or gain insurance as a result of a change to the legislation. IMHO, a more important parameter would be the number of lives lost or gained to be expected annually from a given change in legislation. Bernie Sanders mentoned this below in connection with the proposed American Health Care Act or AHCA. But he is an exception. More political writers should stress the loss of life; it might motivate more people to link the topic of health care with the Golden Rule.

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UN Declaration of Human Rights, Article 25, Item 1 states:

"Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control."

I assume that the reference to "widowhood" also includes "widowerhood."

The United States appears to be non-compliant.

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The Republican Party's proposed American Health Care Act of 2017, (a.k.a. AHCA), and its predecessor:

During Barrack Obama's two terms in office, from 2009-JAN to 2017-JAN, one of his most important achievements was the introduction of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. It is often referred to as the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. ACA and Obamacare). It was signed into law on 2010-MAR-23. During 2016, health insurance coverage had been expanded by about 22 million additional persons. The rate of increase of total U.S. spending on health care has slowed since the law was implemented.

According to Wikipedia:

"The law and its implementation faced challenges in Congress and federal courts, and from some state governments, conservative advocacy groups, labor unions, and small business organizations." 2

A major plank from Donald Trump's (R) presidential election platform was the repeal of "Obamacare" and its replacement with a new law that would be more acceptable to political conservatives. The Republican's proposed legislation for 2017 -- called the American Health Care Act, or AHCA, or the Ryan plan -- consists of two bills, the wording of which were released by the House Republicans on 2017-MAR-06.

About a week later, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) had fully analyzed the AHCA and issued its report on the proposed legislation. 3 The CBO is an "independent, non-partisan" group generally trusted by Democrats, Independents and Republicans in Congress. On 2017-MAR-13, the CBO found that, if the Act becomes law:

  • 14 million Americans would lose their health care coverage during 2018.

  • Another 10 million would lose coverage by 2026.

  • By 2026, a total of 52 million people across the U.S. would be uninsured.

Much of the media implied that the AHCA would forcibly terminate these tens of million of American's health care accounts. In reality, some of the accounts would be voluntarily terminated by young persons who would no longer be forced by the federal Government to carry insurance. Many young people in good health feel that they would prefer to avoid the cost of premiums and risk getting sick without health care coverage.

According to Wikipedia:

  • The proposed act would allow states to continue to enroll persons in the ACA Medicaid expansion through January 1, 2020, and would disallow further enrollment after that date.

  • The AHCA will include age-based tax credits for those who earn less than $75,000, or $150,000 for joint filers.

  • The bill would include a major feature of Obamacase, by requiring insurance companies to cover pre-existing conditions.

  • Insurers would be generally able to charge older persons five times what it charges younger individuals. This compares to a factor of three under the current law.

  • Health care experts from across the political spectrum -- on the left, right and center -- agreed that the House Republican health care bill was unworkable and suffered from fatal flaws, although specific objections varied depending on their ideological perspective. Experts agreed that the bill falls far short of the goals laid forth by Trump, which included: "Affordable coverage for everyone; lower deductibles and health care costs; better care; and zero cuts to Medicaid." 4 This is because the bill:

    1. was "almost certain" to reduce overall health care coverage and increase deductibles, and

    2. would phase out the Medicaid expansion. 5

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In comparison, President Trump promised during his campaign for the Presidency that the replacement law would give:

"Affordable coverage for everyone; lower deductibles and health care costs; better care; and zero cuts to Medicaid."

On the other hand, if you are rich, you would obtain substantial benefits from the AHCA. Benjy Sarlin, writing for NBC News, said:

"The House bill uses the savings from spending less on health coverage to eliminate taxes that pay for Obamacare: About $600 billion over the next 10 years, according to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. Close to half of that revenue comes from surtaxes on high-income Americans. They're also more likely to benefit from an increased tax deduction on health savings accounts." 5

Edmund F. Haislmaier, an health care specialist at the conservative Heritage Foundation said:

"This bill misses the mark primarily because it fails to correct the features of Obamacare that drove up health care costs."

Because the AHCA retains many of the features of the current ACA, some critics have called the proposed law ""Obamacare-lite" or "Obamacare 2.0."

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This topic continues with Part 2 at the next page

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Related essays and sections on this web site that you might find interesting:

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. "Canada Health Care," at: http://www.canadian-healthcare.org/
  2. "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act," Wikipedia, as on 2017-MAR-14, at: https://en.wikipedia.org/
  3. "The Congressional Budget Office just dropped a bomb on Republicans' health care plan," USA Today, 2017-MAR-13, at: http://www.usatoday.com/
  4. Benjy Sarlin, "Experts: The GOP Health Care Plan Just Won’t Work," NBC News, 2017-MAR-08, at: http://www.nbcnews.com/
  5. "American Health Care Act," Wikipedia, as on 2017-MAR-14, at: https://en.wikipedia.org/

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Copyright © 2017 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally posted on: 2017-MAR-14
Latest update: 2017-MAY-11
Author: B.A. Robinson
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