The Affordable Care Act, the controversial healthcare reform law commonly referred to as “Obamacare,” will be replaced by President Trump in the coming weeks.
After the 2016 election, in which Republican Donald Trump won the presidency and the Republican party took the majority of the house and the senate, repealing the Affordable Care Act has become a possibility.
“While the Republicans have yet to issue a detailed plan to replace Obamacare, many of their proposals share common traits [with the Affordable Care Act],” CNN reported. The common consensus is that there should be a plan for the Affordable Care Act’s replacement before it is repealed.
Allan Aguilar, senior political science major at John Brown University, noted an important part of the ACA that may be included in a possible replacement plan. “One of the largest worries that people have addressed if the ACA were to be repealed is the section involving pre-existing health conditions. Many insurance companies refused to provide insurance for individuals with pre-existing conditions, but the ACA removes those discriminatory barriers,” Aguilar said.
According to CNN, “A primary goal of Obamacare was to make sure all Americans – or nearly all – obtained health insurance.” The Republican replacement plan likely would not mandate coverage, but would attempt to make coverage more accessible. While the ACA aimed to provide universal coverage, the new plan would be for universal access.
“Rather than emphasizing coverage, they back making health insurance more accessible. They promise to lower the cost of premiums to make coverage more affordable so that more people can buy policies,” CNN reported.
A primary concern for some is that many individuals, especially those with pre-existing conditions, will be left without healthcare coverage if the ACA is repealed. While a replacement plan would likely include coverage for individuals with pre-existing conditions, the lack of details for a replacement plan has furthered these anxieties.
Rebekah Oakes, junior graphic design major at John Brown University, said that the likelihood of repealing the Affordable Care Act worries her because there are people who won’t have access to the health they need without the act.
In response to the concern with repealing the Affordable Care Act, Aguilar said, “I think that it all depends on what Republican leaders can come up with. If they want to repeal it, then they must come up with something better than the Affordable Care Act that provides healthcare for all who need it and don’t have it, and that provides many or all the benefits that the Affordable Care Act provides.”
There are still several steps that must be taken in order for the act to be repealed and replaced. While there is an increasing possibility that those steps may be taken, major changes for the public will not begin until 2018 at the earliest.