The House of Representatives voted to repeal President Obama’s Affordable Care Act and constructed a replacement, the American Health Care Act (AHCA). On May 4th, the AHCA passed the House and will go on to the Senate for consideration. However, the Senate is now pressured to address the flaws in the bill before it may be passed.
Some of the concerns that have been brought up are as follows:
- The house bill allows insurance companies to cap how much they give to their customers- this would impact younger people who have serious illnesses.
- States will be allowed to determine their own “essential health benefits”, a list of services that will not be capped.
- Large employers can use the “essential health benefits” definition from other states
The Senate has elected 13 white male republican Senators who will make needed alterations to the bill. A GOP aide concluded that the committee members were “any member of any background who wants to pass a health reform bill that will reduce premiums and take away the burdens that Obamacare inflicted.” This description may seem simple enough, but unfortunately, there is no racial or gender diversity in the group. Moderate Republican Senator Susan Collins has spoken out about the lack of gender representation. Ms. Collins said, “The leaders have the right to choose whomever they wish […] It doesn’t mean that I’m not going to work on health care.” Ms. Collins’ statement suggests that she will continue to fight for healthcare.
It is my opinion that going into the future, it is important that we strive to have a diverse group of people representing the public. If only the majority (white cis male) voices are heard, then it will only be those individuals that receive the benefits of the GOP health care bill.