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An unoriginal name for an unoriginal bill

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Republicans are eager to replace the ACA with their regressive version of it, placing thousands at risk of losing their health insurance.

Republicans are eager to replace the ACA with their regressive version of it, placing thousands at risk of losing their health insurance.

Courtesy of DonkeyHotey via Flickr

Courtesy of DonkeyHotey via Flickr

Republicans are eager to replace the ACA with their regressive version of it, placing thousands at risk of losing their health insurance.

Eric Rodriguez, Staff Writer

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Since its inception, there has not been a piece of legislation in the last 20 years that has received as much violent opposition by Republicans as Obamacare. Partly because of its big government principles and mostly because it stood emphatically as a symbol of a black president who was guiding a nation in a more progressive direction, Obamacare was the rallying flag for opposition from conservatives and moderates alike. Six years of gridlock, 52 votes to repeal and two government shutdowns later, the Republicans are finally in the driver’s seat and can now show us the “better health care” they were talking about for so long, but ﹘ spoiler alert ﹘ it doesn’t exist.

Not only is the GOP’s health care proposal disappointing in its ingenuity, it’s just bad.

The bill, formally titled the American Health Care Act, amends the Affordable Care Act and cuts certain provisions from it while adding some of its own to compensate. Most notably, it lifts the requirement for Americans to own insurance and replaces it with a tax penalty, levied by insurance companies, for those who don’t keep their insurance for consecutive years.

The health care bill is not, as many Republicans proclaim, a repeal of the ACA, as the AHCA keeps the large frame of Obamacare intact. Under AHCA, young adults will still be able to stay on their parents’ health insurance plan until they’re 26, and health insurers are still barred from denying patients with pre-existing conditions.

If this was all there was to talk about the bill, there would undoubtedly be little opposition to the law, but the law goes on to redefine how the government disburses its funding for healthcare.

The ACA calculates financial assistance by the cost of insurance within a given area and by how much the purchaser can afford. This allows government healthcare funding to be flexible and target the people most at need for assistance. The AHCA, on the other hand, calculates by income and age, which may seem like common sense, but in practical terms, gives equal funding to the single mother of two making 40,000 and the single bachelor of the same age making 40,000. This makes funding counterintuitive as the people who really need it don’t get enough of it and the people who don’t necessarily need it get funding anyway.

The fact that the AHCA doesn’t account for the difference in insurance cost within a given area will also mean that people from places like New Mexico and Hawaii that have high state insurance costs will receive the same amount of funding as people from states like Michigan and Indiana who have substantially lower health care costs.

If the ACA is as dysfunctional as the Republicans say it is, then AHCA is wholly unsustainable for our country.  

In its essence, the AHCA is self-defeating. Free market principles wrapped in Obamacare doesn’t mesh well. Republicans say that they want to the lower costs of healthcare and then turn around and write in a provision that allows insurance companies to charge up to five times higher premiums towards people over 60.

The AHCA also repeals the mandate that requires large businesses to provide affordable insurance, doing this all while slashing taxes on big businesses that were used to pay for the ACA.

This bill is the anti-Robin Hood of healthcare, robbing the poor and giving to the rich, and yet House leader Paul Ryan is selling it as an “Act of Mercy.” This is not mercy, this is negligence.

Our politicians have had six years to come up with a plan to replace the ACA, and what they’ve come up with mirrors the work of  a college freshman pulling an all nighter to finish a paper ﹘ sloppy and uninspired.

Our politicians should be ashamed of themselves ﹘ we deserve better.

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