AHCA: throwing baby out with the bathwater?

With the possibility of health care changes looming in Washington once again, it’s worth a look at what these changes could mean for Americans.

The Congressional Budget Office says the new American Health Care Act (AHCA) bill that squeaked out a narrow win in Congress would cause approximately 23 million people currently with coverage to lose it by 2026.

It really is about moving health care responsibilities from the federal to state governments. So it’s going to be all about how the individual states handle the challenges of the AHCA. The specifics for Illinois are fascinating and covered well in this Chicago Tribune article.

As always with these issues, I remain apolitical. My only concern being how it impacts my clients. And on that front it doesn’t seem like good news.

Although the Affordable Care Act had its problems, and needed some tweaking, the replacement AHCA seems a case of throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

The problem seems to be that shifting responsibility to the states will allow some insurers to reduce the cost of some policies but most importantly remove some key benefits. Further, it will allow insurance companies to once again introduce the issue of pre-existing conditions, something that the ACA eliminated.

There’s more of course, all good information, but the takeaway is that political promises aside, any change that results in less coverage for my clients is not an improvement.

When doing estate planning with clients, we consider all future life possibilities including illness. If health insurance is not going to cover some care issues, then that is money we have to consider when drafting a plan.

The AHCA still has to make its way through the Senate and there’s a strong indication that the senate will be making some key changes. I can only hope the changes are ones that don’t roll back the positive benefits of the ACA.