Note: The state of current healthcare legislation is fluid and continues to evolve daily. Accordingly, we will continue to update this article as additional information continues to become available.
No matter what your political persuasion, your life, lifestyle and professional status have likely been affected by the Affordable Care Act (“ObamaCare,” or ACA for short). As leaders in Washington prepare to rollout a new healthcare bill that would effectively “repeal and replace” the 2010 Affordable Care Act, Warren Weiss Agency’s primary concern is to educate you about the ramifications of any action, and of no action at all.
Here’s what we know so far.
- Congressional Action: According to media reports, the review of ACA is a priority issue in Washington. As of March 6, 2017, a comprehensive plan to replace the Affordable Care Act was announced by the House Republican leadership. It retains many features of the Affordable Care Act, but replaces ACT’s system of subsidies with tax credits and federally-funded Medicaid coverage with a system of block grants to states based on the nature and number of recipients served. As of March 22, 2017, the new bill continues to be a hot button issue debated amongst leaders in Washington.
- Good, Bad and Ugly: The Far-Reaching Effects of ACA:
- In 2013, 41.3 million Americans had no healthcare coverage. By comparison, today, only roughly 28 million Americans are uninsured. That means roughly a third of those who were previously uninsured now carry health insurance.
- One of ACA’s most controversial and disputed components, the Individual Shared Responsibility Fee (commonly called the “Individual Mandate”) requires taxpayers to carry health insurance for no fewer than nine out of the twelve months in a given calendar year, or face a tax penalty, which is calculated using household income, family size and other factors.
- ACA mandates an expansion of Medicaid, which could lead to new coverage for 21.3 million economically disadvantaged Americans.
- Premiums have increased on average of 14-28% annually, according to research conducted by the University of Pennsylvania.
- As a result of ACA, Health Insurance plans can now be “shopped” via the web (known as “the marketplace”).
- In a down economy, young professionals have struggled increasing to secure regular work with group health benefits. As a result of ACA, Americans under the age of 26 can remain on a parent or legal guardian’s health insurance plan.
- The “employer mandate” is a requirement that all businesses with 50 or more full-time equivalent employees (FTE) provide health insurance to at least 95% of their full-time employees and dependents up to age 26, or pay a fee.
- In addition, Employers with less than 25 FTE with average annual wages of less than $50,000 qualify for employer tax credits through the marketplace SHOP. Those with 10 or less FTE with average annual wages of less than $20,000 qualify for the full credit of up to 50% of their share of employer premiums. To be eligible for a tax credit, the employer must contribute at least 50% of the total premium cost or 50% of a benchmark premium.
- Experts disagree on the total financial effectiveness of ACA. While some argue that total healthcare costs have decreased since the law was passed in 2010, others point to Plan Premiums, which have increased as much as 49% year-over-year.
- The Ramifications of ACA Repeal without a viable Replacement Plan:
- Repeal would leave an estimated 25 million Americans uninsured.
- Repeal would result in a $140 billion loss in federal funding for healthcare in 2019, which could result in the loss of as many as 2.6 million private sector jobs.
- Of those 2.6 million jobs, a third would be cut within the healthcare space alone. The majority would be lost within other industries.
- Without a replacement plan, there could be a cumulative $1.5 trillion loss in Gross State Product, and a $2.6 trillion loss in business output from 2019 to 2023. As a result, an estimated $137 billion added to the federal budget deficit.
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