Republicans unveil their health care proposal, it looks like Obamacare light

By Victor Landa, NewsTaco (2.5 minute read)  

This is going to be a little heavy on policy, because it needs to be today.

The GOP has revealed its version of a national health care plan. It doesn’t have a catchy name yet, so we’ll call it Trumpcare, for now, because his White House produced the executive order that generated the GOP bill. So he owns it now.


Photo by bryanrmason/Flickr

First, let’s define this thing, because it’s not healthcare that’s being reformed (health care hasn’t changed, it is what it is), what’s changing is heath care funding, or rather, health insurance reform.

Second, let’s set a Latino healthcare baseline. The Commonealth Fund says:

Millions of Latinos have gained health insurance through the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The uninsured rate for working-age Latino adults has fallen from 43.2 percent in 2010 to 24.8 percent in 2016. The nearly 20-point decline for Latinos is the largest of any ethnic group. In addition to offering affordable coverage though the marketplace and Medicaid expansion, the ACA allows “qualified non-citizens” such as those with a green card—who are in the five year waiting period for Medicaid—to enroll in marketplace plans and be eligible for subsidies, regardless of income level.”

The salient differences between the two health plans are fines and subsidies.

Where the ACA imposed fines for not having insurance, Trumpcare lets insurance companies impose 30 percent surcharges for gaps in insurance coverage. Both are designed to entice healthy young people to get with the program. And the majority of U.S. Latinos are healthy young people, so the viability of both plans relies on them to buy health insurance.

The other salient point is subsidies.

Where the ACA provided subsidies to people who couldn’t afford health insurance, the GOP version of health reform provides tax credits.

It’s a small government, market based version of Obamacare, or as some Republican lawmakers have called it, Obamacare light.

This affects Latinos directly because the majority of U.S. Latinos are young and many Latinos live in poverty. So both the fines/surcharges and the subsidies/tax credits battles will affect them.

The things that remain unchanged are the most popular parts: parents can still keep their children in their insurance plan until age 26, and patients cannot be denied insurance because of pre-existing conditions.

There’s more to it, a lot more, so I’m interested in building a framework for analyzing the GOP healthcare bill.

►Which questions should we be asking?

  • How may U.S. Latinos will lose health insurance coverage because of the GOP bill?
  • Why?
  • Are non-citizens covered?
  • How will it be paid for?
  • What’s best for U.S. Latinos, a subsidy of a tax credit?
  • A fine for not having insurance, or a surcharge for a coverage gap?
  • How many U.S. Latinos got health insurance because of Medicaid expansion?
  • How will they be affected?

I expect the list of questions to grow.

Today, as the GOP version of health care is revelaed, 75 percent of U.S. Latinos have health insurace. We’ll see how the new law affects Latino health care.

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