The buzz on Capitol Hill is that there will be an actual vote in the House of Representatives today for the GOP healthcare bill. Known as the American Health Care Act, or AHCA, the bill is essentially the ′RyanCare′ bill which was tabled after a lack of Yes Votes. Some changes have been made, satisfying enough House Republicans to guarantee passage this afternoon. Concessions and compromises engineered by the GOP House leadership and the White House have been in the works since the first attempt. While the Trump administration would have liked this bill to have been passed during the ′First 100 Days′, President Donald Trump will be happy to take it now. The bill may not be perfect, but it is the start of fulfilling the promise to repeal and replace Obamacare.

GOP health care vote

Much of the changes have to do with the Medicaid funding for the states, as well as keeping the requirement by insurance providers to issue policies despite any preexisting conditions. However, as with the first attempt, the truly important aspects of the AHCA will come later in Phase 2 and 3. Phase 2 being more regulatory changes instituted by the Department of Health and Human Services and Phase 3 as part of a more sweeping bill to be crafted later.

Having the vote today and passing this first part of the AHCA accomplishes two things. First, as mentioned, it honors the promise to voters to repeal and replace Obamacare. The so-called ′Affordable Care Act′ was not very affordable at all and failed to achieve its promised goals. The cost of insurance premiums went up, in many cases more than doubling since 2010. Just this year, the average increase is over 25% with some states well over 50%. In Arizona, many premiums doubled just since January! The second thing today′s vote will do is clear the deck for Congress to focus on tax reforms and improve our stagnant economy.

The promise that the ACA would allow you to keep your doctor and your health care plan was a big lie. The Obama administration forced all plans to cover many types of care that not everyone needs. The Obamacare bill was over 2,000 pages in length and eventually added some 50,000 or more pages of regulations. The insurance exchanges have been a disaster, with most states closing theirs. On top of all of that, the promise that everyone would be insured never happened. Barely half of the 40 million uninsured before Obamacare got health insurance, even with the mandate with penalties, and most of those were just added to Medicaid rolls. The biggest problem with Obamacare was convincing younger adults, below 35, to buy insurance. The vast majority of this group really only need some form of emergency or catastrophic type of coverage. Even with supplements and tax credits, millions of young adults choose to pay the penalties rather than buy insurance.

Under the AHCA, this will change. Especially once Phase 2 and 3 are completed. Today′s bill to be voted on will lay the foundation for a more market-oriented system. Keep in mind that before Obamacare, the federal government was already running about 50% of the health care industry through MediCare and MedicAid. Obamacare was intended to fail from the start allowing the government to take over the entire industry with some future ′Single-Payer′ system. However, the election of President Donald J. Trump threw a monkey wrench into that plan.

While there may be many flaws in the AHCA as it stands now, by opening the door for some market forces to flow back into the situation, health care in America will get better and cheaper. Just deregulating the development of new drugs and medical devices will go a long way to such improvements. Under Obamacare, it was nearly impossible. As they say, half a loaf is better than none. I have no illusions about people dancing in the streets because of the GOP health care bill when it passes its vote today in Congress. But it is a good start to preventing a total disaster, which was inevitable due to Obamacare. The AHCA also helps the economy by eliminating the penalties on employers from hiring full-time employees, another bad side-effect of Obamacare.

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