Article by: Anonymous
There has been a long-running political fight over Obamacare in Washington D.C. The Republicans have been trying hard to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also called as Obamacare, but without much success – despite having the majority in the Congress and the Senate.
Obamacare remains the law of the land. The failure to repeal Obamacare has caused great discomfort among Republican voters and could result in significant losses in 2018 to the Republican Party when many Senate seats are up for grabs. President Donald Trump’s inability to find a replacement for Obamacare has been glaring as well and has cost him dearly.
Why is Obamacare so controversial? Why do Conservatives hate it so much, and why are Liberals so anxious for it to remain?
What is Obamacare anyway?
The Affordable Care Act [ACA] or Obamacare is based on a simple principle – to extend health insurance coverage to 15% of the US population who do not have any health insurance of any sort. They are not covered by their employers and don’t come under any of the programs for the poor or the elderly.
To make this possible, the ACA requires all Americans to purchase health insurance. The goal is to reduce the cost of insurance by bringing in younger and healthier people into the system.
The ACA requires businesses with a workforce of 50 or more to offer health insurance and prohibits insurance companies from denying insurance coverage to anyone with a pre-existing condition – as was the common practice in the insurance industry in the past.
Furthermore, it allows young people to stay on their parents’ insurance plans till they are 26 and makes it more unsophisticated for the poor to qualify for the government’s Medicare plan. The ultimate goal is to make healthcare affordable to all Americans, especially for the poor and the elderly – hence the name Affordable Care Act.
That sounds good. However, why is the ACA hated by so many?
Obamacare is not perfect by any means. Many conservative think tanks call it a job killer and an intrusion into the affairs of small businesses and individuals across the country by making it compulsory for everyone to buy health insurance.
Republicans launched many legal challenges to the Affordable Care Act when it passed, but it was declared constitutional by the US Supreme Court in 2012 and 2016. There is much anger among conservatives against specific provisions of the ACA, which mandates that companies have to provide birth control to employees.
A significant issue with Obamacare is that the Supreme Court has ruled that states can choose not to participate in the Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act. Giving states this choice means a lot of poor and working-class families that don’t qualify for Medicaid now have no choice but to pay for private health insurance.
Insurance companies are wary about participating in the ACA as not all Americans are signing up. This lack of participation has raised insurance costs for everyone, individuals, and businesses, which means there are now fewer people interested in signing up. The fines for not signing up for Obamacare are too small, while the subsidies for buying ACA policies too meager to matter. The insurance premiums have been rising steadily, going up by 25% in 2017.
That is why Obamacare is seen as a failure by many. However, there is no proper replacement in sight. Repeal of the ACA could result in 22 million people losing their medical insurance, which is an outcome that nobody wants.