The GOP credits do phase out gradually, starting with incomes above $75,000 for an individual and $150,000 for families.
The biggest changes the Republican bill would make are to the Medicaid program. Starting in 2020, it would roll back federal funding for the ACA’s expansion that allowed states — if they so chose — to provide Medicaid coverage to all low-income individuals under 138 percent of the poverty level, rather than just the specific categories of poor people (children, pregnant women, elderly, disabled) who were previously eligible. Thirty-one states opted to pursue this ACA provision. People who are covered under the expansion would continue to be funded by the federal government after that, but states would no longer be allowed to enroll anyone under those expanded criteria. And an enrollee who loses eligibility for the expansion program could not re-enroll.
But the bill would go further as well, making changes to the underlying Medicaid program that House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-Ore.) described as “the biggest entitlement reform in the last 20 years.”
Currently, Medicaid costs are shared between states and the federal government, but the funding is open-ended, so the federal government pays its percentage of whatever states spend. Under the proposed bill, the amount of federal funding would be capped on a per-person basis, so funding would go up as more people qualify. But that per-capita amount might not grow as fast as Medicaid costs, which could leave states on the hook for an ever-increasing share of the costs of the program.
“Capping federal contributions to the Medicaid program will likely force states with already tight budgets to limit eligibility and cut benefits to at-risk Americans,” said the American Public Health Association in a statement.
Help For Wealthier People
If you earn a lot of money, or even just enough to put aside something extra for health expenses, the GOP bill will provide a lot to like.
First, it would repeal almost all of the taxes that were increased by the ACA to pay for the expansion of health coverage. Those include higher Medicare taxes for high-income earners, a tax on investment income, and various taxes on health care providers, including insurance companies, makers of medical devices and even tanning salons.