The ACA Helped Keep Families Together, But the GOP Plan Would Encourage Divorce

It’s always interesting to look at the unexpected effects of policies. It’s even more interesting to relate those effects back to the supposed values of the party putting the policies into action.

For instance, the GOP likes to pretend that they see marriage as a cornerstone to societal success and family strength. They tie marriage back to all sorts of statistics- crime, prosperity, educational success, and so on. The GOP uses their narrow definition of marriage (one man and one woman only) to drive social wedges between their (so called) religious base and minority populations or opposing points of view. Republicans claim to support marriage, yet their rhetoric seldom matches their reality. While clinging to their biblical view of marriage, they gleefully seek to deny marriage to same sex couples despite evidence that committed couples- of any orientation-make successful families. They historically fought against interracial marriages, against no fault divorce laws, against equality within marriage….while looking the other way at infidelity, abuse, serial divorcers or spousal rights for women.

All this to say that when it comes to marriage, republicans give a lot of lip service to promoting their version of marriage while hardly doing anything in reality to help married couples succeed. Including their preferred version of marriage.

So while we understand that the GOP uses marriage as a talking point to persuade a gullible base that their intentions are always in support of traditional family values, the rest of us see through the veil and recognize these claims as another bait and switch tactic of the right. Still, despite the hypocrisy, it can sometimes be tough to see how actual policies from republicans go against their own marriage rhetoric.

The passage of the Affordable Care Act (aka ACA, Obamacare), and the republican replacement plan (aka the American Health care Act) offers an opportunity to see a concrete example of how the GOP defers to corporate profits and wealthy tax cuts over everything else, including one of their sacred cows, marriage.

Prior to the ACA in order for a person to qualify for Medicaid they had to meet certain income and asset means tests. If they had too much income or had too much wealth in assets, like a home, they would not qualify for the program. On the face this seems fine since Medicaid was designed to assist the poor in receiving health care. But in reality, health care can be so expensive in the American care for profit system that any medium to major healthcare occurrence quickly outstripped a family’s ability to afford the care. In order to get Medicaid assistance though they needed to deplete their assets- sell the house, the cars, quit a job, et cetera- in order to get help. Or a couple could divorce, allowing one person to preserve at least some of their assets while the other went into official poverty to get the healthcare assistance they needed. The program encouraged the destruction of marriage and families.

The ACA ended such asset means testing. By expanding Medicaid to lower income families who made too much to qualify for traditional Medicaid but not enough to afford insurance, the program also removed the asset test to qualify, meaning families no longer needed to divorce to get aid.

Many states accepted the opportunity to expand coverage through this program. Many did not, particularly states controlled by a GOP governor and legislator. The states who did join the program saw a 5% decline in divorce rates among older Medicaid participants due to medical costs. The ACA was helping save marriages and families, both on paper and in real life terms.

Take a look at the GOP healthcare replacement plan. It removes the asset protections put in place by the ACA. If passed families will once again have to revert to divorce to save a home from sale due to high medical bills. If passed families will once again be forced to choose between supporting each other emotionally or getting financial aid when a serious medical condition arises. The GOP would rather make sure the wealthy get their tax cuts and the corporations get their premium hikes than help make sure families can afford care, stay together and not have to game a system designed to make them fail.

NPR has a shorter breakdown of this you can listen to here. The bottom line is simple though- the GOP healthcare replacement plan is a bad plan for so many reasons. This is another reason it’s a bad plan, and one you won’t hear much about.

#singlepayerhealthcareplease #GOPhealthcaredestroysfamilies #healthcare #redbluepurpleus #resistsmarter #ACA

 

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