Amidst the chaos of the coronavirus outbreak (COVID-19) and the drama of the presidential election, the crucial Supreme Court ruling on the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, has taken an unfortunate back seat in the news.
The Affordable Care Act, abbreviated as ACA, was enacted into law during the Obama administration in March of 2010. The ACA was created with three goals in mind: make healthcare more affordable and more available to a larger demographic of people, expand the pre-existing Medicaid program to benefit more citizens and to work toward lowering the cost of healthcare as a whole.
The ACA has already been challenged twice in the Supreme Court, and there are concerns that this third time around the courts could rule to abolish it once and for all. The ACA was one of President Barack Obama’s most substantial achievements while in office, so naturally President Donald Trump is seeking to abolish it.
For those unfamiliar with how the ACA works and how it impacts Americans, I’ve laid out some of the key pros and cons of program. At the forefront of what the ACA does is slows the rise of healthcare costs, by insuring more Americans. In doing this it also makes preventative care options, any treatments prior to emergency care or medicine, free for those covered by the ACA.
The ACA also covers what it explains to be the “10 essential health benefits,” which includes mental health, chronic diseases, maternity care and prescription drug coverage. These benefits are often overlooked in other major medical insurance plans, or the client is required to pay an extra fee for these services.
With mental health becoming less swept under the rug and an issue more American feel they can openly discuss, it is critical that we protect a program where those who cannot afford standard insurance plans, let alone the extra costs of coverage for mental health programs, have the help and the support that they need while on their journey to recovery.
Another key component that the ACA covers is it bans insurance companies from turning away customers with pre-existing health issues, which would help cover nearly 50 million Americans, of which nearly a third are children.
Another advantage to the ACA, is it would allow children to stay on their parent’s health insurance plans until the age of 26. This benefits both the young adults as well as insurance companies, as young adults can reap the benefits of an insurance plan while continuing to save money, and insurance companies increase their annual profits.
Obamacare is set to slash the budget deficit by around $143 billion by the year 2022 through three strategies. Firstly, the ACA would lower governmental health care costs, secondly it would place higher taxes on higher income families and businesses and third it would deflect many of the cost burdens off of individuals and onto major pharmaceutical companies.
The ACA would vastly improve the healthcare situation in this country, but not without a few drawbacks that need to be addressed. Due to Obamacare’s increased national coverage, insurance rates spiked in the beginning stages, which deterred a lot of potential customers as well as lawmakers and politicians from supporting the plan.
The ACA significantly raised the income tax for those who have an annual income of $200,000 or more a year, once again deterring certain demographics of people buying in. While Obamacare was successful in closing the “doughnut hole” in Medicare, the cost of prescription drugs has continued to increase.
The “doughnut hole” refers to a catch-22 situation whereby customers with insurance must pay for extra health coverage if they rely on Medicare covered prescription drugs. The catch is this extra fee is rarely used to cover the fees of the drugs, which often have to be paid out of pocket by the customer. The ACA got rid of the “doughnut hole,” but was not able to lower the cost of prescription drugs.
Obamacare much like any other healthcare plan presents many pros followed by a few expected cons. If it were possible to create a “perfect” healthcare plan we would have done so already. While Obamacare may not be something that you are familiar with, and the Supreme Court’s ruling on whether or not to abolish it may not seem to directly impact your life, abolishing the ACA could significantly alter the lives of millions of Americans.
Misinformation and false propagation by the Trump administration has led many Americans to question if the ACA had already been abolished. Thus, this led to an increase in uninsured citizens, which in turn created higher healthcare bills for all.
Personally, I disagree with the Trump administration’s petition to abolish the ACA, as their rational has no concrete evidence. It seems to be merely due to the fact that it was passed under the Obama administration, one that Trump falls back on to blame for anything that goes wrong in his presidency time and time again.
Until the Trump administration can bring forth valid arguments and evidence for why the ACA should be abolished, it is hard to view it as a legitimate case. The concern is the Supreme Court has reviewed the ACA twice already and has made it clear this will be the last time they hear it. My worry is that if Trump and his administration are able to coerce the court into dismantling the plan, it will leave millions of Americans without medical coverage and without the means to receive necessary drugs or treatment.
If the ACA is abolished it will be one more step further away from making healthcare in America a human right, and one more step towards making it a privilege that only the elite are able to afford, and this is not something I will ever be willing to support.