Opinion: Now we know why the GOP hid its healthcare bill

House Speaker Paul Ryan, left, with Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price. (AP)

The Republicans’ long-awaited replacement plan for Obamacare has now been revealed, at least in part. And it’s pretty clear why they have been so reluctant to make it public: This is one ugly baby.

In fact, if enacted into law, the GOP plan would strip millions and millions of our fellow Americans of their health insurance, and all the progress that we’ve made in reducing the percentage of uninsured to record low levels will be quickly reversed.

Some would be forced to drop their policies because the subsidies that have allowed them to purchase individual coverage will be slashed and slashed dramatically in many instances. Others would lose coverage as the expansion of Medicaid is rolled back by the GOP bill, and as federal funding for traditional Medicaid is cut as well.  We have no good estimate on how many millions will be affected — House Speaker Paul Ryan is trying to force the plan through the committee process before the Congressional Budget Office can produce such numbers — but there is no plausible way to make cuts of the proposed magnitude without significant reductions in coverage.

On the other hand, if you’re wealthy, the House plan gives you a lot to smile about. The taxes on Americans making more than $200,000 a year that have helped to pay for Obamacare and that make it deficit-neutral at worst would be rolled back under the House plan, producing an average tax benefit of $165,000 a year for those in the top 0.1 percent, according to the Tax Policy Center.

And if we don’t have CBO numbers yet, we do have other tools by which to gauge the impact of this plan. The Kaiser Family Foundation, for example, has created a database allowing a county-by-county analysis of the impact of the House plan for individuals in various age and income groups. It compares the amount of subsidy that would be available under Obamacare in 2020 to the amount proposed in the GOP House plan. So let’s take a look at what would happen to a typical 60-year-old making $40,000 a year, attempting to buy insurance on the private market:

Those regions in blue represent areas where the $4,000 tax credit available to 60-year-olds under the House plan would be lower than what they would get under Obamacare. As you’ll note, many of the darkest blue areas are right here in Georgia.

Let’s say that you’re a 60-year-old in Dougherty County and its county seat of Albany, in southwest Georgia, making $40,000 a year. Kaiser estimates that in 2020, you would get a subsidy of $11,400 to help you buy insurance under Obamacare. Under the GOP’s replacement plan, you would get a tax credit of $4,000.

All of a sudden, the out-of-pocket cost of health insurance just rose $7,400, and for a person at that income level, it just became unaffordable. That $4,000 might be enough to buy a bare-bones plan for catastrophic coverage, but the deductibles would be much higher than under the worst Obamacare plan, and it would pretty much close off general access to health care. Many people just won’t bother.

We could also look north to Union County and its county seat of Blairsville, along the North Carolina border. A 60-year-old trying to buy individual coverage there would get a subsidy of $9,130 under Obamacare, but $4,000 under the House plan. Again, a $5,130 increase in the out-of-pocket expense for health insurance simply isn’t affordable for that person.

But wait, because it gets worse. Under Obamacare, insurance companies can charge our 60-year-old friend a maximum of three times as much as it charges a younger customer. Under the House replacement plan, that multiple jumps to five times as much. In other words, as the subsidy drops for older Americans, the cost of similar coverage will increase.

The impacts will extend well beyond the individual to the communities in which they live. For example, when that 60-year-old Blairsville resident drops insurance as unaffordable, he or she is no longer a paying customer for the local health-care system and in fact becomes a financial burden due to uncompensated care. The already difficult financial situation for rural and small-town hospitals and doctors will worsen, and it will worsen again as Medicaid cuts further reduce their base of paying customers.

In many of these places, the methamphetamine and opiate epidemics are taking a vicious toll, and without insurance drug-treatment options disappear. Just last year, three local doctors, including the CEO of Union General Hospital in Blairsville, were arrested and charged with running a prescription drug ring for oxycodone and other opiates that also extended into North Carolina.

Oh, and one other thing. In the 2016 elections, 81.6 percent of Union County voted for Donald Trump, the man who promised repeatedly that under his Obamacare replacement plan, nobody would lose insurance coverage.

Reader Comments 0

1517 comments
lvg
lvg

so where is that "fantastic" health care coverage Trump promised that is cheaper and will cover more people? 



Is that after all the people thrown off Medicaid and Obamacare die?


Finn-McCool
Finn-McCool

@lvg Trump is gonna cover "everybody." 

So fehgetaboutit.

Hubert J.Chris. Burson
Hubert J.Chris. Burson

Bookman has never read a liberal agenda he didn't like. Total waste of his column in the AJC. Lucretia you are so far left you should consider a career in "Storytelling". Especially fiction, since you identify with it.

David Fige
David Fige

The only thing they need to do is, help the working poor, and those with health issues who couldn't buy in the open market.

John Lewis
John Lewis

We the people demand national health insurance... A medicare card with 100% coverage...

Tim Hotle
Tim Hotle

Best to repeal first. The fix should be to help the 5% of the population with a big problem. Competition from the marketplace is the answer, not a government take over. The AJC is part of fake news.

Leon Ziglar
Leon Ziglar

Lots of hypocrisy from the left. The Obama banana republic passed Obamacare under to cloak of darkness. The Republicans have put it out there. I would suspect there will be some tweaking of the bill.

Peggy Buchan
Peggy Buchan

Because hamhead the tax payers can't afford it!! Your country is rapidly being sold to China!!

gotalife
gotalife

US Marines arrive in Syria.


Dumb.


The right do not care about leaks because they are not patriots.

Brandon Giddens
Brandon Giddens

The AJC needs an overhaul. It has become nothing but a Trump bashing news outlet. Report the news, and quit trying to create drama.

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

Well, my county is one of the greater than 75% less counties.  That will show these ^%$& how wise it is to always support Republicans.

Jennifer Alabi
Jennifer Alabi

I'm sorry. I just don't get it why republicans don't want their fellow countrymen to have affordable health care. Is this survival of the fittest? ?

Virginia Chastain
Virginia Chastain

The federal government has no business being in the health care business

1stTruthOMeter
1stTruthOMeter

Dear Lawd,

I am a gud pursn. Teech me to not injoi watchin Trump votrs whin they reelize they don' hav no mo inshorance.

Fl0ydLiberal
Fl0ydLiberal

my dad fought in the second world War, European front. His comment after the election was that fighting that war made no sense if we were going to elect the neo Nazis. All my friends, he said, died for nothing.

Lindon Hooper
Lindon Hooper

Maybe the free loading 18 to 50 years olds will pay for their own health care.

tireOfIt
tireOfIt

Not treating illness and letting them die saves a lot of money. Ryan should consider this if anyone in his family becomes ill.

lvg
lvg

@tireOfIt Million dollar trust fund from Ryan construction - made a fortune on government infrastructure contracts and wife was a wealthy attorney.  Doesn't give a sh-t about the little folks- let them die.

Andy Alexander
Andy Alexander

This is a load of double standard horse crap! It's another example of irresponsible and agenda filled reporting. I find it hard to believe that anyone can blame others for what they themselves have done.

tireOfIt
tireOfIt

More Americans will die from lack of insurance than from terrorist attacks by refugees

Pat Melvin Clarke
Pat Melvin Clarke

It will have revisions and will work out just great in the end!! There's got to be a better way; I know too many people with extra high premiums and deductibles!!!

Manuel Herrera
Manuel Herrera

I think that the way you present this bill to the public is piss poor. Obamacare is the horror bill here and you see to favor it AJC !!!

lagapeach
lagapeach

I think the Republicans reacted out of pressure from Trump to rush this thru without it being fully completed or thought out. They will get a lot of backlash from the people that they represent in the districts that voted heavily for Trump. They need to go back and just fix the things from the Affordable Healthcare Act that needed fixing.

Fl0ydLiberal
Fl0ydLiberal

For seven years they have  advocated repeal. They have crowed they had a better idea but Obama wouldn't work with them. Now we know that was more wishful thinking than reality.

Naima Barton
Naima Barton

Yet they continue to vote against their interests. Welp, no sympathy over here. Let them suffer the consequences of their actions.

Luci Swaim
Luci Swaim

This came from the RINO'S not Trump-----

John Stromberg
John Stromberg

This just in from a fellow lover-of-democracy: A note about Paul Ryan: Democratically elected U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan has turned off all of his public telephones and fax machines due to overwhelming protests in favor of Obamacare/ACA, Planned Parenthood, and Medicare, other issues such as tax returns, etc. He is also turning away voters delivering signed petitions. And he refuses to hold any town hall meetings. Please mail postcards to his HOME address: Paul Ryan 700 St. Lawrence Ave. Janesville, WI 53545 Please paste and copy this info and share. Let’s see what 67 million cards in the driveway looks like

JeffreyEav
JeffreyEav

How could the Jackets lose that game last night? Total bummer.

Allen Nelson
Allen Nelson

Hey AJC... if ObamaCare had not been railroaded into law in the first place, we wouldn't BE in the situation!!! I guess we have to pass the GOP plan to see what's in it, RIGHT???

Barbara Bertolina Colombo Deck
Barbara Bertolina Colombo Deck

Obamacare does not provide health care. The premiums for the low income folks are subsidized by Tax Payer Dollars and the Deductibles are high. They don't get care. It is an epic fail and has to be reformed!

Stephen Scruggs
Stephen Scruggs

At least it is small enough to read and will pass because we own both houses. Democratic Party has killed itself. They are being ignored. Join the Trump revolution. Make America great again.

Denise Means
Denise Means

Wrong. Several Republicans have already state they will not vote for this bill. It is DOA.

Bill Mullen
Bill Mullen

Yeah it's just like The failing Obama bill but they say it's just a start an opening negotiation

Peachs
Peachs

Wikileaks came out yesterday with CIA leaks.  How convenient, this means Trump and Russia are still orchestrating these leaks.  It is like a defense attorney, presenting a very pin point augment, and his client is Trump. 


Someone needs to go into that embassy like a bounty hunter, and bring Assange, to justice, he is a rapist.  I watch that fat dyed blond, do it night after night on television, let's see your stuff, Uruguay Embassy, the address is in the phone book, you probably can raise sponsors and make billions.

Dave Baird
Dave Baird

You have to pass it, before you can read it, Pelosi - democrat

jezel
jezel

@Peachs @jezel ha...don't know. He was walking to his office in London...alone.

Peachs
Peachs

@jezel @Peachs this is too rich, spies, leather jackets, Russian mob, drugs, and a wild mob, with a Hitler type leader, taking over America.  Now all we need is Jesus to decide to return to earth right now!  Reality at its best!!

Peachs
Peachs

@jezel Can you buy life insurance on someone you don't know?