By Chris Pirschel, Staff Writer, and Alec Stone, ONS Public Affairs Director
Trump Administration Forced to Help to ACA
Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), each state has the right to create its own basic healthcare system within its own jurisdictions. Currently, only New York and Minnesota have made such systems available to residents who are just over the limit to qualify for Medicaid. Those individuals receive their health care from the state—until the Trump administration eliminated certain aspects of ACA that provided federal funding for these programs. After suing to overturn the administration’s ruling, the Department of Health and Human Services announced a settlement that would pay close to half a billion dollars to New York and Minnesota to support the affected plans.
Although some states work with insurance companies to have better (or worse) state programs, many choose to receive subsidies from the government. Ultimately, funding is essential for states that create affordable, accessible plans for their residents. Because New York and Minnesota raised a case against the Trump administration, each was able to recover the lost money. However, in the discussion of dollars and cents, it's easy to forget that these are real numbers, affecting hundreds of thousands of real people. Currently, both parties are making efforts to support ACA, hoping to prevent leaving voters in the dust of the Trump administration’s ongoing rule changes.
As Dems Campaign on Pre-Existing Conditions, Republicans Move In
Ten Senate Republicans put forth a bill that would ensure coverage for patients with pre-existing conditions, despite any future changes to the Affordable Care Act (ACA). This move comes as a response to Congress’ ruling that the individual mandate included in ACA was invalid. The ruling has led to several GOP members calling to invalidate the entire law on that basis. However, Democrats are critical of the newly introduced Republican law because it doesn’t offer the same comprehensive protections as ACA.
Political experts suggest that the November midterm elections could usher forth a Democratic "blue wave,” changing leadership in both the House and Senate, and some Republicans are taking note. GOP candidates are drawing lines, still hoping to alter ACA, but many are aiming to maintain provisions such as protecting those with pre-existing conditions. Although the Supreme Court is arguing parts of the law, if a Republican bill can be enacted that guarantees pre-existing condition protections, it might solve an electoral problem for Republicans in the midterms. Or it might be too little too late. Find out more about what's at stake in the midterm elections.
Incidence of Pre-Existing Conditions Varies Across the United States
The issue of covering patients with pre-existing conditions is still the subject of debates on Capitol Hill. However, more than 64% of Americans polled say they want to keep the Affordable Care Act (ACA) protections provided the Obama administration’s healthcare law. Upon further investigation, the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) discovered that pre-existing conditions vary greatly depending on geographic location in the United States.
These numbers suggest that patients’ zip codes might be better determinants for their health insurance needs than their genetic codes. Coverage is essential to quality health care, particularly in long-term, chronic diseases. KFF’s report provides a little more insight into coverage issues and pre-existing conditions by state and location. If ACA is ultimately dismantled, no federal law will supersede state law. State legislatures would then determine when and how to distribute healthcare funding within their borders—and who could receive that healthcare funding. Learn more about how a candidate's position on health care may impact voters for the upcoming midterm elections.