Trumpcare yanked before vote, Affordable Care Act remains ... for now

| by S.A. Whitehead
Trumpcare yanked before vote, Affordable Care Act remains ... for now

House Republican leaders have yanked their version of the replacement for the Affordable Care Act, according to the Washington Post which reached President Trump by phone. Trump told the paper last Friday, "We just pulled it.”

That's less than 24 hours after the president issued his ultimatum telling Congress to vote on the new version or they'd move away from the issue. The vote did not take place, so the Affordable Care Act remains intact. 

The effects of whatever measure wins out has tremendous repercussions for the restaurant industry.

Restaurant workers, for example, face extreme quality-of-life issues if the replacement plan under current consideration is passed into law, said Peter Harrison, CEO of Snagajob. a provider of employment services for front-line hourly restaurant workers.

"Restaurant workers could be among the hardest hit with the proposed healthcare plan," Harrison said in an interview before the congressional developments. "It is estimated that 10 million restaurant workers — or roughly 68 percent of all restaurant workers — were able to gain health coverage under the ACA or Medicaid, which was expanded in 32 states and Washington, D.C. 

"Having coverage means access to care, financial security for families and positive impacts on health outcomes that ultimately lead to a healthier workforce. … The Congressional Budget Office and the Joint Committee on Taxation estimate that by 2018, 14 million more people will be uninsured under the (proposed) legislation than under current law; rising to 21 million in 2020 and 24 million in 2026. If this proves true, we will see a tremendous impact on hourly restaurant workers."

The National Restaurant Association, however, supported Trump's plan, particularly in comparison to the mandates of the Affordable Care Act passed under the Obama administration.The organization said the ACA has been devastating to restaurant owners and operators. Although the NRA hoped to see Congress pass Trump's proposed legislation, it also said "fixes" were needed to the replacement measure as well. 

The ACA has created a lot of work and expense for BurgerBusters, a Taco Bell franchisee based in Virginia Beach operating 93 units, said Human Resources Director W. Kirk Jester.

"We currently offer all full-time hourly workers an affordable policy through our ACA offering, and we also have a few indemnity products … offered post-tax," he said in an interview. "That's pretty much standard offerings now. The ACA cost us over $400,000 in 2016, because of cost-shifting to business on the full-time employees. … I was hoping Trumpcare will do away with this ridiculous burden for businesses."

The proposed act would have given tax credits to help individuals pay insurance and medical bills, although the credits would have fallen far short of what is provided overall through the Affordable Care Act. Likewise, it allowed insurance companies to hike up the price tag of healthcare coverage for older individuals and would have repealed increased taxes imposed by the Affordable Care Act on high-wage earners and health-related companies. It also would have cut off federal payment to Planned Parenthood for one year and ended requirements for insurers to cover the so-called "essential health benefits," like treatment for substance abuse and maternity care. 

The replacement measure had polled poorly with most Americans. A Quinnipiac University poll  shows very few Americans support the measure, with just 17 percent saying they want the new act to become reality. Meanwhile, the poll found 56 percent said they did not support the proposal and 26 percent were undecided. 

Topics: Health & Nutrition, Insurance / Risk Management, Legal Issues

S.A. Whitehead

Award-winning veteran print and broadcast journalist, Shelly Whitehead, has spent most of the last 30 years reporting for TV and newspapers, including the former Kentucky and Cincinnati Post and a number of network news affiliates nationally. She brings her cumulative experience as a multimedia storyteller and video producer to the web-based pages of and after a lifelong “love affair” with reporting the stories behind the businesses that make our world go ‘round. Ms. Whitehead is driven to find and share news of the many professional passions people take to work with them every day in the pizza and quick-service restaurant industry. She is particularly interested in the growing role of sustainable agriculture and nutrition in food service worldwide and is always ready to move on great story ideas and news tips.

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