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If President Trump’s healthcare plan – the American Healthcare Act – is passed, it would have a devastating impact on poor rural Americans – especially in states like Mississippi.

That’s according to Roy Mitchell of the Mississippi Health Advocacy Program. Older, rural voters – Trump’s core voting bloc – could be hit hardest.

Older people will pay thousands more per year

“An older Mississippian, (age) 55 to 64, could see an increase as much as $7,000 in their premiums,” Mitchell told Mississippi News Now. “If you are in a family, an older family, (it could be raised) as much as $11,000 and that’s just by the year 2020.”

That’s because Trumpcare will base its subsidies on age instead of income. Under Trumpcare, older patients could be charged up to 5 times as much as younger patients, whereas current law caps that at 3 times. The result of this change, analysts say, is that Trumpcare will raise premiums on poorer and older people by 750%. A low-income 64-year-old would spend more than half of her income on healthcare.

Subsidies will not be based on need

Hattiesburg Civil Rights veteran Raylawni Branch protests against a repeal of Obamacare outside Mississippi District 4 Congressman Steven Palazzo’s downtown office on February 25, 2017. Photo by Liam Scott.

While Trumpcare would still offer subsidies for many of the 40,000 Mississippians who rely on federal plans made possible by the Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare), there would be major changes.

Under Obamacare, the size of the subsidies adjusts based on income and regional costs. The lower your income and the higher the costs of healthcare in your region, the more subsidies you qualify for. Conversely, the higher your income and the lower the costs of healthcare in your region, the fewer subsidies you qualify for.

But under Trumpcare, subsidies would be the same across the board. Someone making $70,000 a year in Mississippi would get the same subsidies as someone making $25,000 a year in New York City. This would create glaring disparities across the board.

800,000 Mississippians who rely on Medicaid could lose it – along with their hospitals

As for the 800,000 Mississippians on Medicaid? Mitchell paints a doomsday scenario in the event the AHCA becomes law.

With $880 billion in cuts to Medicaid, the 50-year-old program would essentially be dead, he says.

Such drastic cuts to Medicaid could severely cripple and lead to the closure of rural hospitals. The National Rural Health Association estimates that 673 rural hospitals are already at risk of closing nationwide over the next decade. With fewer people insured, hospitals will have to absorb the costs of an influx of emergency room visits for the uninsured poor.

Nationwide, Trumpcare would result in 14 million people losing their health insurance next year, and a total of 24 million by 2026, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office estimates.


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