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Trump Could Repeal Obamacare: What Does This Mean?

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UCD chapter.

In a 2013 tweet, President-elect Donald Trump likened Obamacare to a sinking ship, writing: “First Titanic struck on its maiden voyage. Next the Hindenburg explodes on its first flight to America. Now we suffer the Obamacare rollout!”

While Mr. Trump compared Obamacare, otherwise known as the Affordable Care Act, to national disasters that resulted in the deaths of thousands of people, he seemingly forgot to mention that it has provided health insurance to millions of Americans.

So, what is Obamacare? Obamacare is the name coined for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which Obama authored and signed into law in 2010. Obamacare was one of the cornerstones of President Obama’s presidency and sought to provide millions of uninsured citizens with affordable health insurance.

The Affordable Care Act mandated that all Americans have health insurance. Similarly, the law made it illegal for insurance companies to deny health insurance coverage because of pre-existing conditions. Before its implementation, insurance companies could deny coverage to individuals if they had chronic and pricey diseases like diabetes or cancer. Similarly, children are allowed to stay on their parent’s insurance until they are 26, providing years of extra coverage until they are able to afford their own insurance premiums.

President-elect Trump centered his campaign for President of the United States around two platforms: “building a wall” to enforce border security and “repealing and replacing” Obamacare. According to his website, his healthcare plan, known as “Healthcare Reform to Make America Great Again,” will follow free-market principles that “will broaden healthcare access, make healthcare more affordable, and improve the quality of care for all Americans.”

Mr. Trump’s plan would allow individuals to purchase insurance across state lines. Likewise, his plan would allow individuals to deduct health insurance payments from their tax returns. He also plans to import drugs and pharmaceuticals from overseas, which he says will alleviate high drug costs in the US. Finally, he will block-grant Medicaid to states, meaning that the federal government will allocate set amounts of money to states to provide insurance to their population as they see fit.

However, according to analysis conducted by the nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Budget, Mr. Trump’s plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act will cost anywhere from $330 billion to $550 billion over the next decade.

Repealing the existing healthcare system is costly, and by itself will cost $260 billion dollars. Ultimately, the committee found that Mr. Trump’s plan will “increase the number of uninsured individuals by about 21 million and only cover about five percent of individuals that would lose coverage from the repeal.” Therefore, Mr. Trump’s plan, as it is currently outlined, will double the number of people without health coverage in America.

Mr. Trump’s promise to repeal Obamacare has concerned women across the nation. After Trump said that women should be subjected to “some form of punishment” for abortions, and Mr. Pence’s history of signing anti-abortion legislation in his home state of Indiana have left many women concerned about their ability to access contraception after the pair take office. While Obamacare guarantees the availability of a majority of birth control options without a co-pay, the future is uncertain under Mr. Trump’s plan and has led to an influx of women seeking long-term birth control.

Mr. Trump was elected two weeks ago under the assumption that he would “make America great again” (although he didn’t win the popular vote). He campaigned on a hardline, aggressive platform that called for the full and immediate repeal of Obamacare and the deportation of millions of immigrants. How will President-elect Trump’s healthcare reform plan “make America great again” if roughly half of the people who benefit from the low prices and increased coverage under the Affordable Care Act lose their insurance? Here is the harsh truth of his “Healthcare Reform to Make America Great Again” plan: millions of people will lose their health insurance, in effect doubling the population without health insurance, the price tag of this reform will increase our nation’s debt, lucrative health insurance companies could deny coverage due to pre-existing conditions, and finally, the future for women’s contraceptives is bleak. 

None of the images used belong to Her Campus or the author. Thumbnail courtesy of Pexels.

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