The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, often referred to as Obamacare, was enacted on March 23, 2010, by President Obama. The goals of the ACA are to provide more equitable and affordable access to healthcare to improve health indicators since the United States spends more on healthcare than any other developed country for worse health indicators- such as life expectancy and infant mortality rate.
The ACA has successfully increased the percentage of insured by allowing children to stay on their parent’s health insurance plan until age 26 (previously 19 or 23), mandating coverage for high-risk citizens, and imposing a fine on those that are uninsured. Reducing the number of uninsured relieves the burden that emergency departments across the country face as uninsured use the hospitals as their primary care facility.
Critics of the ACA however, argue the act increased the role of the government and infringed on the ability to chose your healthcare coverage. The ACA has also led to higher premiums, unaffordable deductibles, and fewer insurance choices for Americans. The ACA has also increased the cost to insurance companies and employers, but it is still too early for the full impact of this to be seen.
However, in order to produce a bill that will withstand multiple presidencies, it is crucial to include bipartisan effort in order to produce a system that can offer healthcare insurance to as many as possible.
President Trump promised throughout his campaign to repeal and replace Obamacare, however, this has proven to be a much more complicated task than he expected and will surely require a bipartisan effort. The GOP’s most recent effort to replace Obamacare is the Graham-Cassidy bill drafted by Senators Bill Cassidy (R-La), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Dean Heller (R-NV), and Ron Johnson (R-WI). The bill gives the power back to the states by giving them a block grant that they can use to ultimately craft their own healthcare system. However, with the anticipated cuts in funding, it is predicted that it will not be possible to fund ACA projects by 2027.
The bill needs 50 votes to pass the Senate and on September 25th, the Congressional Budget Office released a statement stating that while the bill would reduce the national deficit by approximately $133 billion, millions of people would lose their coverage. Senator Susan Collins then declared that she would not vote for the proposed legislation, which accompanied with Senators John McCain and Rand Paul’s opposition brought the total to more than 3, meaning the bill would not pass. Senator Ted Cruz also voiced that he opposed the legislation as proposed.
After the Graham-Cassidy bill stalled, President Trump has chosen to act by himself, using his “phone and pen” like President Obama. The executive order he signed last week to allow for cheaper policies and expand consumer choice. However, in order to produce a bill that will withstand multiple presidencies, it is crucial to include bipartisan effort in order to produce a system that can offer healthcare insurance to as many as possible.