Repeal and replace: Understanding the Affordable Care Act

Joshua Meribole-Staff Writer

repeal-obamacarePromising that he will “repeal and replace” Obamacare – known officially as the Affordable Care Act (ACA) – on his second day in office, newly elected President Donald Trump issued an executive order to repeal the healthcare bill.  

The executive order will give health care providers a choice in how these companies interpret various aspects of the Affordable Care Act. 

The Congressional Budget Office said that if portions of the ACA are removed and others remain, approximately 18 million people will be left without insurance.  

According to President Trump’s website, his vision for health care is to “create a patient-centered health care system that promotes choice, quality and affordability.” Trump also seeks to give states more control over how to administer Medicaid.  

Donald Roth, professor of criminal justice, said the actual effect of President’s Trump’s “repeal and replace” could take more than 5 years to come into effect. Even though the ACA was introduced in 2010, some aspects of the bill have yet to be put into effect. 

Most people in the United States receive health insurance through their employer. As such, the ACA’s purpose was to provide insurance for the 42 million who were uninsured, especially those individuals with pre-existing conditions or those who are self-employed. These people are considered to be high-risk, and are placed in a high-risk pool, by insurance companies. Being a member of a high-risk pool means that an above-average amount of money is needed to pay for that individual’s healthcare. 

ACA aimed at closing the gap between the insured and the uninsured. In the past, the increasing cost of health care forced people to spend a greater percentage of their incomes on healthcare. However, when the ACA was introduced in 2010, it eliminated annual maximums and preexisting condition issues and increased Medicaid. Medicaid uses taxpayer money to subsidize healthcare costs for those who cannot afford it.    

The ACA also pushed for hospitals to become more technology-focused, a change that most people did not a problem with.  

People were not happy with the economic impact of the ACA, for the expansion of Medicaid caused an increase in taxes and forced people to buy insurance. Since 2010, premiums have increased substantially and therefore imposed the opposite effect that the plan was intended to have.  

“The problem with the Affordable Care Act is it doesn’t quite take a free market approach…more of a conservative approach,” said Roth. And yet, he said, “it doesn’t quite take a liberal, you know, state-provided insurance approach…it does not accomplish either.” 

“This is an instance where compromising is not a good thing,” said Roth. 

Cadean Tinklenberg, President of Student Symposium, shared his opinion on the ACA.  

“Most people would think it absurd if I walked up to a random guy on the street, stuck a gun to his head and forced him to pay my medical bills,” Tinklenburg said. “Likewise, most people would think it absurd if I stuck up 100 people and demanded they each pay their ‘fair share’ of my medical bills.”  

Obamacare Tax Subsidies Upheld by U.S. Supreme Court“Yet, many of the same people repulsed by the thought of me using violence directly to pay my bills have no problem with the government doing literally the same thing. Now the gun is held by the government and the cost is spread over 200 million people. Moreover, it’s no longer just one person demanding that their healthcare be covered by someone else, but millions, all using the government as their hitman—which of course gets its own cut for doing the dirty work in the name of the public good.” 

Holly Hiemstra, a sophomore nursing major, experienced the effects of ACA first hand.    

“From what I have observed, it has caused a lot of confusion,” said Hiemstra. “I have interacted with patients, and they do not know if they are covered…it’s very vague.”  

Yet other students are not so opposed to former President Barack Obama’s healthcare bill.   

 “I like the idea behind it,” said Jonathan Beltman, a sophomore history and political science major. “I am in favor of getting people easier access to healthcare and medical needs.”  

“There is room to repeal and replace,” Beltman said. “However, a transition is needed to move between Trump’s repeal and replace and when it is put into place.” 

President Trump and other Republicans have begun to make changes to Obamacare. However, it could be years before change becomes reality.

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