The American Health Care Act (AHCA) passed on May 4, 2017, provoked a strong public reaction. The proposed reform aims to reverse the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), decrease taxes, and reduce the budget deficit. Despite all the discussions about expenditures and shortcomings associated with the ACA, the new Health Care Act is still vague and underdeveloped. The Republicans should find the balance between delivering health care to the people with severe and chronic diseases and cutting expenditures for those who are young and healthy.
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The ACA and the AHCA differences
To begin with, both politicians and civilians criticize the ACA proposed by President Obama for significant health care spending, not translating promises into actions, and imposing unfair taxes for workers. According to Hirsch et al. (2017), “total health care spending in the USA surpassed 3.4 trillion dollars in 2016” (para. 25). The tax burden imposed on both employers and employees resulted in several millions of people losing their health care insurance (Hirsch et al., 2017). The ACA succeeded in providing coverage for the overwhelming majority of Americans and establishing health exchanges, but it leads to higher taxes and heavy overall expenses.
On the other hand, the AHCA may cause millions of Americans to lose their insurance. Hirsh et al. (2017) suggest that “the Congressional Budget Office estimated that 52 million Americans would become uninsured under AHCA” (para. 7).
If healthcare insurance becomes non-obligatory, millions of people will choose not to purchase it. The AHCA may increase the participation of coverage actors in the individual market and favor the workers who will not be obliged to pay additional tax, though it remains contradictory and non-holistic. Therefore, the main difference between the programs is that the AHCA empowers the market and workers, while the ACA focuses on the most socially vulnerable groups and makes health insurance obligatory.
Higher-income families seem to benefit from the new act, but lower-income families may experience losses. According to Blumberg, Buettgens, Holahan, Mermin, and Sammartino (2017), “the average family with less than $10,000 of income in 2022 would be $1,420 worse off” (p. 1). Therefore, the elimination of income-related tax credits is one of the weakest provisions of the AHCA. The tax reduction for higher-income households is disproportionate to the expenses of lower-income families. The most crucial provision of the AHCA is the provision of minimum health benefits set that will allow civilians with more impoverished living conditions and more substantial health risks to gain coverage.
Improving the AHCA
In medically underserved areas, minimum health benefits should be combined with the foundation of Help Centers. An option for diagnostics and advanced infrastructure can lead to a healthier population and fewer losses in the future. The essence of the ACA, affordable health care for all Americans, is now being questioned. To create a system of counterbalance, compensating for rising expenses of disadvantaged households, the government is better to provide the minimum of services in the advanced Health Care Centers.
The first step would be the evaluation of the healthcare distribution with the help of Policy Simulation Models (Blumberg et al., 2017). The second step will be achieving the compromise while combining the best from both the ACA and the AHCA programs. Lastly, the plan is to ensure the existence of well-equipped Health Centers in urban and rural areas.
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To summarize, each program has its negative and positive implications. Decreasing the budget deficit may shift attention from low-income communities to the common nation’s goals. However, the common goals for global development are inclusion, providing equal human rights, and affordable health care. Using policy prediction models and choosing the best from both programs can favor all the Americans.
Blumberg, L. J., Buettgens, M., Holahan, J., Mermin, G. B., & Sammartino, F. (2017). Who gains and who loses under the American Health Care Act. The Urban Institute. Web.
Hirsch, J. A., Rosenkrantz, A. B., Allen, B., Nicola, G. N., Klucznik, R. P., & Manchikanti, L. (2017). AHCA meets BCRA; Timeline, context, and future directions. Journal of NeuroInterventional Surgery, 10(2), 205-208.
Hirsch, J. A., Rosenkrantz, B., Nicola, Harvey, H. B., Duszak, R., Silva, E., … Manchikanti, L. (2017). Contextualizing the first-round failure of the AHCA: Down but not out. Journal of NeuroInterventional Surgery, 9(6), 595-600.