One of the campaign promises that led to the November 2016 election of President Donald Trump was that he would repeal the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare, and replace it with a less-costly system offering Americans a broader choice of plans. Last week, The Young Turks reported on the Congressional Budget Office's and President Trump's Office of Budget and Management's estimates with regard to the number forecast to be left uninsured with the proposed changes, of 24 and 26 million, respectively. The legislation being proposed by Republicans to replace Obamacare is known as the #American Health Care Act.

The Huffington Post has described how the coming changes, which have yet to be finalized, might affect those with autism spectrum disorder, their families, and caregivers.

Advertisements
Advertisements

In 2014, the Center for Disease Control stated that ASD affects one in 68 children in the United States, up 30 percent from levels observed in 2012. How does the AHCA affect those with #Autism?

Penalties for those who allow coverage to lapse

Something Republicans have promised is that the legislation replacing Obamacare would stop penalizing those who choose to opt out of it, but adds penalties, as much as 30 percent, for those who allow their coverage to lapse and then wish to "re-enter the market." It is thought that more Americans will choose to opt out under the new legislation, finding the cost of health insurance prohibitively expensive. People who cannot opt out and require constant care, or specialized therapy, as many with ASD do, may be "left with unaffordable health care."

Low-income families, and individuals, appear to be among the hardest hit with the proposed changes.

Advertisements

The new bill proposes the elimination of "total coverage," replacing it with a "per capita lump sum" under Medicaid, which may not be enough to cover the costs associated with some ASD treatments. The administration of former President Barack Obama instituted an expansion to Medicaid, relaxing qualifications, and allowing more Americans to participate. President Obama's expansion is reported to be left untouched by the new bill, continuing to allow more Americans to qualify until 2020. After that, it is expected that Americans will "slowly start opting out as their income increases."

The proposed AHCA would drop requirements that employers provide health insurance. The Huffington Post states that "employees who are sick and/or older would be first to drop their plans." The publication describes the AHCA as stranding the "poor, sick, and elderly" with "inadequate coverage," and being designed to only offer insurance to the "healthy" and "wealthy."

AHCA won't discriminate against those diagnosed with ASD

Both Obamacare and the AHCA work using tax credits; they are described as being "significantly reduced" under the AHCA, which has also been referred to as Ryancare and Trumpcare.

Advertisements

These reduced tax credits are cited as being responsible for the estimated 24-26 million that will lose coverage by 2026. Republicans want the changes because of the forecast $300 billion the move will trim from the U.S. deficit over 10 years.

The AHCA, while being slammed by Democrats like U.S. Senator from Massachusetts #Elizabeth Warren, continues with some progressive elements first introduced under Obamacare. Insurance providers will be unable to refuse subscribers based on preexisting conditions, such as ASD; children will continue to be covered under parents' plans until they turn 26; and unlike with Medicaid, a ban on lifetime limits will remain, with the "essential health benefits" guaranteed by Obamacare, which many families with autistic children depend upon, remaining in place with the proposed bill.