publicidad
Vijay Das
Opinión

Vijay Das is a Washington-based writer and advocate. He’s written extensively on drug pricing, health care access and economic justice issues.

Here are two ways Republicans interested in governing can help working Americans access better health insurance

Here are two ways Republicans interested in governing can help working Americans access better health insurance

In states like Florida and Texas, over a million Latinos alone can't get good healthcare today. With Trumpcare crashing, it's time Republicans address Obamacare's coverage gaps by expanding Medicaid and fixing a drafting error that punishes low-income Latino families.

salud obamacare

The American Health Care Act’s demise is a car-wreck for House Speaker Paul Ryan and President Trump. President Trump promised to deliver a health care plan that expanded coverage to everybody. Instead, the Republican plan ripped it away from 24 million people.

Republicans are correct to say health insurance is still out of reach despite the passage of Obamacare. But they, and only they, can fix its glaring coverage gaps.

Millions of Americans cannot afford health insurance because Republicans have not cooperated with Democrats to fully implement and fix the law. Obamacare expanded Medicaid, a half century old means-tested public insurance program, to many more people. Republicans should pressure every governor to expand Medicaid eligibility. Furthermore, congressional Republicans should support legislation to close the ‘family glitch’, a coverage gap that makes private health insurance unaffordable for low-income families.

The Affordable Care Act expanded Medicaid eligibility to low-income adults earning less than 138 percent of the federal poverty line. In 2012 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled this provision as optional for states to comply. In 2020, states will have to kick in 10 percent of the costs to expand Medicaid. Until then, the federal government picks up the entire tab.

Nineteen states currently opt not to expand Medicaid eligibility. Too many of America’s home health aides, line cooks, waiters, and sales clerks are stuck in a rut. Because of partisan politics and anti-Obama sentiment, 2.6 million adults in predominately Republican-led states can’t afford health care because they earn too much to qualify for traditional Medicaid but not enough to obtain income-based tax subsidies Obamacare provides for individuals to buy a health plan off Obamacare’s state-run marketplace. These patients don’t get coverage through work.

publicidad

Governors are playing politics with the working poor's health. Worse, they are denying health benefits to millions of Medicaid eligible African American and Latino families living in the Deep South. Patients of color reel from poor health outcomes like higher rates of heart disease and infant mortality because of meager health insurance access.

Families currently in this Medicaid coverage gap cannot afford private coverage. It’s too burdensome. The Kaiser Family Foundation found that in 2016 the national average unsubsidized premium for a 40-year-old non-smoking individual buying coverage through the Obamacare Marketplace was between $250-$300 monthly for a basic health plan. That’s more than half of income for those at the lower income range of people in this gap and about a quarter of income for those at the higher income range of people in the gap. If poor people have to decide between insurance and goods like shelter, they understandably choose shelter and food. Uninsurance persists.

Republicans, a party that claims to celebrate economic growth, would be smart to expand Medicaid because of its economic benefits. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation surveyed 11 states like California, Michigan and Kentucky and found that expansion resulted in less state spending for uninsured populations, more job growth, and reduced hospital uncompensated care costs for uninsured patients. Expanding Medicaid gives more workers access to comprehensive health insurance, a better chance to stay healthy and be productive.

publicidad

Congressional Republicans can immediately close another coverage gap, ‘the family glitch’ affecting 2.3 million low-income families. Under Obamacare if one family member has job-based insurance that’s deemed affordable by the government - costing less than 9.56 percent of the family’s income - then every member of that family is not eligible to qualify for government subsidies to help pay for insurance off Obamacare marketplace. The Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) interpretation of an insurance subsidy eligibility can ignore the cost of insuring an entire family, which is much more expensive than individual-only coverage.

More than six million people are ineligible for subsidies because of the family glitch. Such families can face health plan premiums 1 6 percent of household income, 12 percent after factoring in tax advantages of obtaining health coverage on the job.

Republicans can re-introduce and support the Family Coverage Act, introduced by Sen. Al Franken (D-MN), to ensure all families have access to affordable coverage. The bill would amend the Internal Revenue Code to determine Obamacare subsidy eligibility based on the cost of family coverage and not of a worker in that family.

To be sure, there’s more to be done to address working families’ health care woes. The Affordable Care Act’s implementation is riddled with problems related to underinsurance. People are facing unaffordable monthly premiums, deductibles, copays, and provider out-of-network out-of-pocket costs. The Obamacare marketplaces are working well in many parts of the country yet not in others. Patients still can’t buy quality health insurance at a reasonable monthly price.

publicidad

Obamacare’s problems are complex, requiring cooperation from both parties in Washington to offer solutions. Indeed, with the collapse of the American Health Care Act, America can scrap its multi-payer inefficient health system and join the rest of the industrialized world to fully embrace universal health care, a single-payer Medicare-for-All system that shrinks the size of for-profit health insurance and guarantees health care a right for all.

Despite President Trump’s recent revelations of American health care being complicated, it's not difficult for Republicans to figure out what to do now that their health agenda failed. Republicans should lick their wounds and help the people that sent them to office get better health coverage. The Republican plan didn’t do that. With new approaches to America-first leadership, Republicans can make sure Obamacare’s unaffordability and coverage gaps close for good.

publicidad
Contenidos Relacionados
25 jul, 2017 | 12:04 PM
The trouble with exes
publicidad
Latino millennials account for almost half the 27.3 million eligible Latino voters in this election. But Latino turn out is traditionally far lower than black and Anglo voters. J.P. Dominguez asks “when are we going to wake up?”
A study by the Institute on Taxation and Economic policy found that undocumented immigrants pay $11.64 billion a year in state and local taxes. The undocumented pay on average 8% of their income on taxes while the wealthiest 1% pay only 5.4%. J.P Dominguez says that's "trumped up."
During the first presidential debate, the candidates took a chance to bring up each others past mistakes to affect their performance.
After the "Taco trucks on every corner" comment from the co-founder of Latinos for Trump, part of his immigration past emerged. This is JP Domínguez's take on the issue.
Donald Trump's wife and aspiring First Lady is an immigrant who says she always "went by the law" - but her story is a little 'SUS'.
Tras salir de un centro de detención para inmigrantes, descubrió que a su hijo se lo tragó un río de California
Entre lágrimas, la guatemalteca Jovita Beatriz Díaz pide ayuda para encontrar a su hijo, quien fue arrastrado por un río en California cuando asistía a un bautizo. Según el testimonio de esta mujer, los dos habían llegado a Estados Unidos huyendo de la violencia en su país natal, pero fueron arrestados por ICE, aunque el joven logró salir del centro de detención.
Avianca suspende vuelos desde y hacia Venezuela debido a "limitaciones operativas"
La aerolínea comunicó este jueves 27 de julio que la decisión prevista para el 16 de agosto, por la infraestructura aeroportuaria y la inconsistencia en las operaciones, se adelantó debido a limitaciones registradas en las últimas horas. En octubre del 2016 una aeronave militar siguió a uno de sus aviones, situación sobre la cual no han dado explicaciones las autoridades aeronáuticas. Ya son 15 las empresas internacionales que han dejado de volar en el país suramericano.
Denuncian que ICE presuntamente oculta información del ataque a dos de sus agentes perpetrado por Los Zetas en México
Los miembros del cártel José Manuel García alias 'Safado' y Jesús Iván Quezada alias 'Loco' fueron declarados culpables en Washington de asesinato en primer grado e intento de homicidio. El 15 de febrero del 2011, un vehículo donde iban los dos agentes del Servicio de Inmigración y Control de Aduanas (ICE) fue atacado por el grupo ilegal a las afueras de San Luis Potosí. Los disparos produjeron la muerte de Jaime Zapata y dejaron herido a Víctor Ávila. Familiares del fallecido acusan al gobierno estadounidense de no darles evidencia sobre lo que pasó ese día. Ávila insiste en que ICE le hizo la vida imposible después de la ofensiva y quiere llevar el caso al Congreso.
publicidad
Honda Civic Si 2017 - Prueba A Bordo Completa
Tuvimos oportunidad de evaluar a la nueva generación del Honda Civic el año pasado, pero esta vez estuvimos A Bordo de la versión deportiva de este. Jaime Gabaldoni nos trae todos los detalles del Honda Civic Si 2017.
Dodge Challenger SRT Demon 2018 - Prueba A Bordo Completa
El demonio más esperado de la historia hace temblar con 840hp. Jaime Gabaldoni tuvo oportunidad de conocerlo de cerca y nos comenta sus apreciaciones.
Gobernador Andrew Cuomo anuncia plan con el que la MTA recibiría hasta 600,000 dólares anuales
'Adopte una estación' es el nombre de la iniciativa con la que se busca que varias entidades apoyen económicamente el mantenimiento y la seguridad de las estaciones del subway.
Autoridades intensifican la búsqueda de un hombre acusado de robar una oficina inmobiliaria en Brooklyn
Cámaras de seguridad lograron captar el momento en el que el acusado sale de la inmobiliaria con varios equipos electrónicos. Según el informe de las autoridades, el asalto se registró el pasado 12 de julio.
Chivas enfrentará al Atlético Nacional por la Súper Copa de Campeones
El campeón de la Liga MX dio a concoer que el próximo mes de septiembre disputará un cotejo contra el actual monarca colombiano.
Magníficos 10 momentos de la jornada uno de la Liga MX
Comenzamos a recopilar goles, atajadas y grandes jugadas del torneo Apertura 2017. Iniciamos el conteo regresivo con la tapada espectacular de Tiago Volpi a Cedillo en el encuentro América y Querétaro.
Fútbol
Toda la información y noticias sobre lo último del fútbol mundial
Barcelona entrenó en Miami pensando en Neymar y Real Madrid
Con la incertidumbre de si Neymar se queda en el club o se va al PSG, los azulgranas preparan el último juego amistoso de su gira por EEUU. Busquets y Rakitic hablaron del brasileño.