One of the major policies created by the Obama administration was the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which many dubbed “Obamacare.” The universal health insurance ensured nearly 20 million Americans had coverage. Now, that system is in the process of being repealed.
At approximately 1:30 a.m. on Thursday, the Senate took major steps toward repealing the ACA. It had been frustrated with the policy for years, and understandably so. The insurance, though well intended, is highly unaffordable for many Americans.
And the kicker? It is mandatory, with a fine for those who forgo enrollment.
It was required in hopes of encouraging citizens to take their health seriously, but for many, making it a priority is causing them to go into debt. However, those with a low enough income do have the fee waived, which has allowed many who never had insurance to begin to go to the doctor without fear of unaffordable bills.
Should the entire policy be scrapped? No.
The insurance, though problematic, is helping millions of Americans. It also ensured children could remain on their parents’ insurance until they were 26, a policy that allows so many college students and young adults to be able to maintain their health without having to give up grocery money or pick up a third job.
It needs to be fixed. But gutting the plan and starting completely over will cause far more issues than working on improving the policy will.
This is all completely arbitrary if the Trump administration does in fact have the practically perfect replacement plan the president-elect has been touting over the past week. According to Trump, the incoming plan will ensure “insurance for everybody,” and revamp Medicare and Medicaid.
Like every other policy Trump has championed, he has refused to reveal any semblance of specifics for the replacement, which unfortunately implies he does not in fact have a concrete plan solidified.
This could prove disastrous. Despite its flaws, the ACA is helping 20 million Americans have coverage and their right to health care cannot simply be revoked because a bitter Congress suddenly has a new mouthpiece in office.
If Trump does have a well-thought-out plan, which is more comprehensive than its predecessor on the backburner, replacing the ACA may actually not prove detrimental to the 20 million currently ensured.
Trump claims the mysterious replacement is going to provide coverage for everyone in the nation, not just the wealthy.
“There was a philosophy in some circles that if you can’t pay for it, you don’t get it,” Trump said. “That’s not going to happen with us.”
If such a replacement does exist, the president-elect may soon find a new set of hurdles in his future. His plan, one for healthcare for every citizen, is the very definition of socialized medicine. Just because he wears a Republican badge does not mean the Republican Congress will back his socialized plan.
Without a receptive Congress, Trump will face the same issue Obama did. Obtaining the funding necessary to get the program off the ground.
Perhaps he will be able to bend congressmen to his whim by bullying them on social media. It does seem to be his favorite strategy in handling opposition.
Trump has many pressing issues he will need to address upon entering our nation’s highest office. Creating an entirely new healthcare plan is not one of them. If Trump has a magical replacement that will solve all of the ACA’s issues then by all means, scrap it and start over.
Otherwise, focus on fixing the problems in the current plan. It’s not perfect, but it is working. Ripping coverage to advance a party’s agenda will end up hurting the people our politicians have sworn to protect.
Breanne Williams is a senior majoring in mass communications.