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Politics and Activism


It actually passed this time.


The new version of the Affordable Health Care Act has just passed the House of Representatives in the slimmest possible majority of votes with 217 voting in favor to pass it, 213 voting against it, and 1 abstention. The nay votes included all House Democrats plus 20 House Republicans. Now, the bill goes before the Senate, where the Republicans have a much thinner majority than they do in the House of Representatives.

One major aspect of the bill is that it eliminates individual mandate. While the individual mandate was certainly the most controversial part of the Affordable Care Act, it was also one of the most important parts as well, as funding for insurance depends on the young and healthy having insurance. Other major aspects of the bill are that it guts Medicaid and defunds Planned Parenthood. One of the major contention points that the Freedom Caucus has with the original AHCA bill was its notion of requiring the coverage of those with pre-existing conditions and mandating that insurers cannot charge higher rates for those with pre-existing condditions. Rather than outright eliminating that, a "compromise" was reached where states can choose whether or not they want to require insurers to cover pre-existing conditions and waive the requirement of not charging more. Now under the ACHA, many of these people will be transfered to "high-risk pools" because they are more likely to get sick, but all this will mainly lead to is those in the pools paying exorbitantly higher rates for their insurance.

Speaking of pre-existing conditions, many people are saying that things like sexual assault are now pre-existing conditions. This is a tad misleading. Things like PTSD or an STD that resulted from a sexual assault would be counted as a pre-existing condition. However, being sexually assaulted is, thankfully, not considered a pre-existing condition in its own right. However, under the new bill, insurers can charge a higher rate due to a pregnancy because a pregnancy is considered a "high risk." This is still a step from the pre-ACA days where coverage could be denied due to a pregnancy.

The ACA certainly has its problems, but this bill takes the problems with Obamacare and only serves to exacerbate them. The ACA was a watered down version of the conservative Heritage Foundation's response to the Clintons' fight for Universal Healthcare. Many of the problems that have occurred have been due to lack of protections of people from the insurance industry. The AHCA seeks to deregulate even further. Many people accuse Democrats of ramming the ACA down the throats of the American people, but for the AHCA, the CBO did not get a change to have a hearing to evaluate the bill.

The passage of the AHCA occurred right around the time Trump praised Australia's healthcare system, which just happens to guarantee healthcare as a right and has a public option. As the vote for the AHCA goes to the Senate, it can only remain to be seen if the Senate takes the President's words to heart.

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