BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT)– With all the back and forth on whether or not to repeal or keep the Affordable Care Act, we wanted to know how this will affect you?
One UAB Public Health expert says it all depends on your situation. Two big changes are Medicaid expansion is going to be phased out and subsidies, or help paying for coverage. Right now, how much help you get to pay for coverage is based on your income. But, President Trump’s plan would tie the subsidies to age. So, younger people, no matter how much you make, will get subsidies and there is also assistance for the elderly. The expert says this could result in poorer people paying more for worse coverage.
David Becker, UAB Associate Professor Public Health said, “Most of the revenue came from taxes on higher income individuals. So wealthier individuals will see a reduction in the taxes they pay, there will be new subsidies that will benefit higher income families and there will be an expansion of health savings accounts which primarily benefit higher income families and the question is, what will have to give to support that? And I think what will have to give is less support to help lower income Americans purchase health insurance coverage and less funding to cover Medicaid in this country.”
Carey Harris, lives in the Birmingham area, is concerned about what’s going on. He says he’s had two major surgeries on his neck and could only afford that thanks to his coverage. He says he’s on a fixed income and disability so he’s afraid that any increase to what he has to pay is just simply not in his budget. Harris said, “If I could turn back the hands of time, and go back and get a college degree and make me be able to afford this, I don’t want the government to give me anything. I’ll be 66 in July and I’ve worked most of my life and I paid taxes and this is my duty, I should be able to afford healthcare.”
Robert Baird is a veteran living in Forestdale. He says he’s been hoping President Trump will keep his promise of protecting veterans. He says he’s thankful for the services at the VA. But, even with that he points to an $800 bill for an eight mile ambulance ride as a sign of how expensive medical costs can be. Before his wife passed away, for a while he was on her insurance. But, when the Affordable Care Act went into effect, he says he had to be dropped from it because it was just too expensive. Baird said, “It was three times the amount of money that they were going to deduct out of her check because of Obamacare. So, I know a lot of people say Obamacare worked for you or worked for me, but it didn’t work for my family.”