How the new US health plan compares to Obamacare

By Leslie Shapiro, Darla Cameron

House Speaker Paul Ryan, centre, during a news conference on the American Health Care Act on Capitol Hill. Photo / AP
House Speaker Paul Ryan, centre, during a news conference on the American Health Care Act on Capitol Hill. Photo / AP

A tale of two US healthcare plans: What is the difference between President Barack Obama's and President Donald Trump's.


WHO WOULD BE COVERED

Under two plans drafted by separate House committees, the Government would no longer penalise Americans for failing to have health insurance.

OUT: Enforcement of the individual mandate requiring coverage

IN: 30 per cent surcharge on premiums that insurers would be able to impose on consumers who purchase a new plan after letting their previous coverage lapse - a strategy to encourage people to remain insured

OUT: Employer mandate on larger companies to offer affordable coverage

HOW THEY WOULD PAY FOR COVERAGE

The plans would replace federal insurance subsidies with a new form of annual individual tax credits.

OUT: Income-based premium subsidies to lower- and moderate-income consumers would end as of 2020.

IN: Age- and income-based refundable tax credits

How the new tax credits would work

The new legislation would break people into five age groups, each receiving a different amount in tax credits to purchase health insurance:

Age Tax credit

20-29 US$2000

30 - 39 US$2500

40 - 49 US$3000

50 - 59 US$3500

60 and older US$4000

These credits begin to phase out for individuals making more than US$75,000 and joint filers making over US$150,000. Other restrictions include:

- For each US$1000 in additional income above the limits, a person would be entitled to US$100 less in credit.

- Credits would be limited to a maximum US$14,000 per family.

- Credits could be used for any health plan allowed in a state, including ones providing only catastrophic coverage.

Credits could not be used to buy health plans that cover abortion.

OUT: Insurers can charge older customers up to three times what they charge younger customers.

IN: Insurers would be able to charge older customers up to five times what they charge younger customers.

OUT: Individuals can contribute up to US$3400 and families up to $6,750 to pre-tax health savings accounts.

IN: Starting in 2018, individuals could contribute up to US$6550 and families could contribute up to US$13,100 to pre-tax health savings accounts.

OUT: Cost-sharing subsidies, which were provided to insurers to help their ACA customers cover deductibles and co-payments (ending in 2020)

IN: States would receive US$100 billion over 10 years through a new Patient and State Stability Fund for safety-net needs and possible "high-risk pools" for consumers with expensive medical conditions.

PROPOSED CHANGES TO MEDICAID

Here's how the legislation would address Medicaid.

OUT: Medicaid as an entitlement programme with open-ended, matching federal funds for anyone who qualifies

IN: Medicaid would be funded by giving states a per-capita amount based on how much each state was spending for the fiscal year that ended in September.

How Medicaid expansion would be affected

Under Obamacare, 31 states broadened their Medicaid programmes to cover people making up to 138 percent of poverty-level income.

Under the GOP plans, the states would continue getting enhanced federal funding until 2020. After that, the Government would keep paying 90 per cent for beneficiaries already on the rolls as long as they remain eligible.

After 2020, new beneficiaries would be funded at a lower level.

OTHER KEY ELEMENTS OF THE PLANS

The legislation would preserve some of the most popular features of the 2010 health-care law, while targeting Planned Parenthood.

IN: Insurers would still be banned from denying coverage based on preexisting conditions.

IN: Dependents would still be able to stay on parents' insurance plans until age 26.

IN: Caps on annual or lifetime coverage would still be banned.

IN: Insurers would still have to cover certain categories of specified benefits first covered by the ACA.

OUT: Planned Parenthood is eligible for Medicaid reimbursements or federal family-planning grants (but federal money cannot fund abortions)

IN: Planned Parenthood would face a one-year funding freeze

- Source: The American Health Care Act, House Republican briefing.

- Washington Post

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