The GOP Wants To Eliminate 17.6 Million Americans’ Healthcare For 2016
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Politics and Activism

The GOP Wants To Eliminate 17.6 Million Americans’ Healthcare For 2016

Americans will be waiting to see what happens this week.

The GOP Wants To Eliminate 17.6 Million Americans’ Healthcare For 2016
The American Conservative

This past Wednesday, Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Paul Ryan announced that the Republican-controlled Congress will be sending a bill to the Executive Office calling for the repeal of Obamacare and the defunding of Planned Parenthood. Named the "Restoring Americans’ Healthcare Freedom Reconciliation Act," House Resolution 3762 seeks to alter the fiscal year 2016 budget through a series of amendments to phase out Obamacare funding.

Such action is not untypical of the GOP, who have openly pledged to bring Obamacare to ruin. Yet the GOP has yet to offer a solution for the over 17.6 million Americans who rely on healthcare insurance, the three million young adults under 26 years old who rely on their parents' healthcare plan for their own healthcare coverage, and the increasing senior American population who depend on Medicare for average prescription drug cost savings of $4,200, free preventative visits, and free health screenings.

What Is Obamacare And Why Is Health Care in Danger?

Obamacare is the collection of two bills: the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) and the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Through these two pieces of legislation, over 17.6 million Americans have been able to receive healthcare services since September 2015, in addition to the millions of Americans who already receive healthcare access through their work, company, or through out-of-pocket payments.

In 2010, President Obama pledged to provide healthcare access to all Americans who needed healthcare, giving rise to the “Obamacare” used today. Republicans and conservatives continue to blame Democrats and President Obama for enacting failing legislation, without citing the countless measures, deals, and bills that Congress has forced into law, eliminating key provisions and programs within Obamacare.

On Dec. 3, 2015, Speaker Ryan addressed America at the Library of Congress to announce his next steps for the House and for Congress. His overall plan encompassed one specific, overarching goal: “a complete alternative to the left’s agenda.” He speaks about a conservative vision for the U.S.: “a country where no one is stuck; where no one settles; where everyone can rise.” Over the past several years since 2010, Americans have not been given a chance to rise, and Congress continues to cut back the very access Americans would need to rise, especially in terms of affordable access to high-quality healthcare.

On June 28, 2012 and on July 25, 2015, the Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act and Obamacare in two constitutional challenges. However, in both cases, the Supreme Court upheld the American right to healthcare coverage. As stated by Tara Culp-Pressler: the 2015 Supreme Court case was significant to "...preserve financial assistance for Americans purchasing insurance plans through Obamacare’s federally run marketplaces, effectively maintaining affordable access to health care for millions of people whose coverage was thrown into question.”

Republican “Victories” Eliminate $48.5 Billion of Healthcare Coverage:

Below is a timeline of legislation that has been passed through the Republican Congress since 2011 that has eliminated $48.5 billion worth of potential healthcare coverage programs and services. Speaker Ryan has recorded these bills and amendments as “victories” for conservative America, yet 21 states have refused to expand health coverage to their citizens. The following bills have been passed by the Republican-controlled Congress since 2011, which have continuously chipped away at Obamacare and eliminated billions of dollars of coverage:

On April 14, 2011: H.R. 4 included a cut of $25 billion from exchange subsidies, and the insurance exchange program was intended to expand healthcare access to employees across the country.

On April 15, 2011: H.R. 1473 included a cut of $2.2 billion from the “Consumer Operated and Oriented Plan” (CO-OP) program, which took $400 million out of the voucher program, as well as froze IRS funding, leaving the IRS unable to expand with the rapidly growing enrollment numbers.

On Nov. 21, 2011: H.R. 674 fixed the eligibility for Obamacare programs so that $13 billion worth of American healthcare would not be covered.

On Dec. 23, 2011: H.R. 2055 expanded upon the April legislation to remove $400 million from the “Consumer Operated and Oriented Plan” (CO-OP), and eliminated $305 million from the IRS budget.

On Feb. 22, 2012: H.R. 3630 removed 11.6 billion from Obamacare, including $5 billion from the “Prevention & Public Health” fund.

On January 2, 2013: H.R. 8 eliminated the “Community Living Assistance Services and Supports” CLASS Act which would have provided $6.5 billion worth of long-term healthcare insurance for employees who were not covered.

On December 16, 2014: H.R. 83 cut $2.5 billion from the insurance industry to be able to pay back insurance companies that had run a deficit, causing numerous carriers across the country in 2014 to lose hundreds of millions of dollars.

On July 31, 2015: H.R. 3236: blocked small businesses from being able to ensure their employees under Obamacare.

On October 7, 2015: H.R. 1624 blocked the ability of small business employers to seek a path to ensure their employees with healthcare.

What Is at Stake for 17.6 Million Americans in 2016:

After numerous reforms to cripple healthcare access by Republicans, Congress will now be looking to remove healthcare once and for all, not only repealing Obamacare for millions of Americans, but also denying Americans access to healthcare provided by Planned Parenthood. The national organization provides trusted healthcare services and information for millions of Americans from across the United States in the form of cancer screenings, STI/STD testing, pregnancy tests, and access to safe and legal abortions.

Many women and men, especially those living in low-income communities and states with very minimal or no levels of healthcare coverage insurance, have extremely limited access to healthcare services. Oftentimes, Planned Parenthood clinics can be the only affordable healthcare providers available to residents, and many low-income women of color turn to Planned Parenthood to provide the services their state will not provide them.

The Center for American Progress reported that the Affordable Care Act has the potential to save the federal government approximately $190 billion over a 10-year time period. With the ACA, more competition would seek to lower premiums and lower the uninsured rate by an estimated 700,000 people. It is no secret that the Republican Party has actively sought to repeal President Obama’s historic legislation. However, the Republican leadership in Congress should note the expanding enrollment of Americans across the country signing up for healthcare.

Passing legislation to freeze funding for the IRS, limiting the number and type of companies that can compete for better healthcare insurance prices in the market, and continuing to cut long-term healthcare plans only hurts the American people. Americans need a Congress they can trust to work with President Obama and the Supreme Court in upholding and expanding the programs that will keep our citizens healthy, safe, and insured.

It is safe to assume that President Obama will not be signing Speaker Ryan’s House Bill to defund Obamacare and Planned Parenthood this week. However, this bill serves as a warning sign for a growing movement by conservatives to strip 17.6 million Americans of their healthcare in the coming year. With the Iowa Caucuses and New Hampshire Primaries moving into sight as the 2016 presidential elections approach, healthcare will most likely become an enhanced issue of contention between Democrats and Republicans. Americans will be waiting to see what happens this week.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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