The Affordable Care Act (ACA), more popularly known as “Obamacare,” became law in 2010, expanding insurance coverage for millions of Americans and causing controversy. The ACA is now again at the forefront of political debates as President Trump ran for office with repealing the ACA as one of his key political platforms.
The ACA has been criticized on several fronts: rising insurance premiums for some, complicated enrollment at the start, some health offices not accepting Medicaid, new taxes assessed to pay for program, and the decision of some employers to cut staff and staff hours in response to the mandate.
These are important concerns, but they are dwarfed by the fact that out of the 33 developed nations across the globe, the U.S. is the only nation that fails to guarantee its citizens even basic healthcare. All other developed countries, such as France, Switzerland, Denmark, Argentina, Kuwait, South Korea, Israel, and the United Kingdom, to name a few, recognize that support for the health of their citizenry is a basic human right and foundational for maintaining a thriving and successful country. Supporting U.S. citizen’s health creates a healthier workforce better prepared to contribute to our society.
In the U.S., the Affordable Care Act was a critical first step toward taking on a national responsibility, and has had great success. The ACA resulted in the highest percentage of Americans ever to have health insurance, with the majority of the newly insured being young adults, and allowed young adults to stay on their parents’ plan until they turned 26. It made health insurance more affordable for many and ensured that health insurance covered a complete panel of key basic services, including mental health care which was previously largely paid for out of pocket. It lowered prescription drug costs and ended the practice of denying health coverage to U.S. citizens with normal pre-existing conditions such as mental disorders, almost every cancer, Alzheimer’s and dementia, paralysis, epilepsy, etc… or simply cutting coverage when citizens became ill.
If the ACA is repealed would you like to be the one to tell Grandma who is having a little trouble remembering or Uncle George with bladder cancer that they may not get the healthcare they need because they don’t look good on paper? Or that their premiums are now higher than their retirement and social security will cover? Do you want to be without key services because the only health insurance we would be be able to afford after college covers so few services that it is essentially worthless? Without the ACA, all of the above situations will happen; if not to you directly then to a family member or close friend.
U.S. citizens, like the citizens in every other developed country, deserve access to basic health services, regardless of their social and/or economic status. The ACA is not a perfect system. However, repealing the Act does not take our country forward but shows how little we care for our own. I urge everyone to support keeping the law, but encourage to continue the practice of revisiting and revising aspects of the Affordable Care Act. Repealing and totally replacing it would not only be devastating and possibly deadly for millions of U.S. citizens, but it would also enable congress to waste taxpayer money debating and attempting to slop together a new plan which, in this highly divided political climate, wouldn’t happen any time soon, causing millions to needlessly suffer.