PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — House Republicans call it the American Health Care Act, their plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, and already it’s stirring up a storm.
A couple hundred protested outside Sen. Pat Toomey’s office in the Grant Building, and the Republican plan was on many minds.
“It means fewer people will have access to health care, and the care will be more expensive,” says Prof. Deborah Scigliano of Duquesne University.
Under the GOP plan, Americans will no longer be required to get health insurance.
Opponents say that will take America back to the days when uninsured people waited until they were very sick and then went to emergency rooms.
“You will not seek treatment but you will wait until it manifests itself so strongly that you will seek care and will go to the emergency room. And ER costs are very high, and that cost is passed on to all consumers of health care insurance in the form of higher premiums,” says Scigliano.
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The new plan would also end Obamacare’s market place insurance that insures about 13 million Americans.
In its place, Republicans propose tax credits to help the uninsured buy insurance.
Critics say that won’t work for working families living paycheck to paycheck.
“They can’t afford to buy a plan now and wait until taxes next year to get a credit,” says Laurie Kessler of Baldwin.
As for expanded Medicaid — which insures 625,000 in Pennsylvania — the GOP plan shifts the cost from federal taxpayers to state taxpayers in 2020.
But two popular features of Obamacare are retained.
Children can stay on their parents’ insurance until age 26 and no plan can discriminate against pre-existing medical conditions.