(Translated from Spanish to English)
After the freeze of Obamacare, many wonder what changes can we expect in medical coverage? Sally Pipes, president and CEO of the Pacific Research Institute, a public healthcare expert since 1988, gave an exclusive interview to El Mundo Newspaper and discussed possible changes in medical coverage under the Trump Administration.
“Among the immediate changes could be the elimination of the health insurance tax (HIT). Those people who did not have insurance had to pay a fine of $ 695 or 2.5% of their earnings, whichever was greater.”
The IRS recently reported that it will not collect that tax. Other possible changes include the total or partial elimination of taxes such as the ‘Cadillac’ tax (a law that will come into effect in 2018); a tax on medical devices; Medicare with a tax rate of 3.8% (imposed on individuals with a salary above $ 200,000 or families earning $ 250,000); and age-based tax credits.
“We are in a period of transition. People who currently have health insurance through Obamacare and have not changed plans will have coverage for all of 2017. If Obamacare is removed or replaced by mid-year, then those people will be able to find a plan that best suits their needs and budget. It’s possible that the cost is more affordable if people with chronic diseases are eliminated from the current coverage, “said Pipes.
According to Pipes, one of Obamacare’s main mistakes was the low number of enrollees. It was predicted that by 2016, Obamacare would insure over 20 million. However, only 11 million are currently covered.
“Young people and healthy people help cover healthcare expenses, but only 28% were recorded, while it was estimated that 40% was needed for the health program to function properly.
“Because of this, many medical insurance companies left the market. Only one plan is available in one-third of the United States. In 60% of counties, there are only two options. Those registered for Obamacare continue to see increases in the cost of their health insurance, “says Pipes.
Was a change needed in ObamaCare?
“In my opinion, I think changes in current medical coverage are necessary. Obama put much power in the hands of the federal government, which increased taxes, subsidies, and control of insurance companies. The population needing individual coverage were upset by the recent 22% increase in insurance costs and increases in deductibles, when President Obama had assured them that costs would fall. In addition, companies such as Humana, United Healthcare, Aetna, Blue Cross Blue Shield came out of the Obamacare market because they were losing money. Likewise, those enrolled have very few options for doctors and hospitals. There was medical coverage, but it was not the coverage that was needed.”