Trump plans to dump Obamacare

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President Donald J. Trump issued an executive order titled “Minimizing the Economic Burden of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act Pending Repeal” on Jan. 20 to direct members of his administration towards initiating the process of revoking and replacing the legislation.

According to the official policy stance published on his website, Trump aims to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), along with the support of the Republican-majority Congress. Confronted with this possibility under the Trump administration, legislators and citizens alike will have to face the major changes the healthcare system will undergo.

“An ACA repeal without replacement could cut insurance and job opportunities for millions of Americans,” Jacqueline Miller, University of California, San Francisco Healthforce Center chief research analyst, said.  “Potentially, people could lose coverage nationwide, health insurance would not be mandatory, and a lot of jobs in the health force could be lost.”

The Affordable Care Act, one of the Obama administration’s chief policy achievements and the most significant healthcare reform since Lyndon B. Johnson’s implementation of Medicare and Medicaid, provides over 20 million people with universal health coverage. Before the ACA was put into effect in 2010, over 47 million Americans had no access to any form of health insurance whatsoever, while nearly 30 million were underinsured.

The groups affected most by Trump’s proposed repeal include low-income families and businesses, which comprise over 16 million of those covered under the ACA, and women. Prior to the implementation of the act, the majority of health care plans routinely charged women up to 60 percent more for their monthly insurance premiums.

The ACA prohibited insurance companies from financially discriminating against their clients while also providing 48 million women with access to preventative services.

“The affordable care act has helped women the most by providing more with healthcare insurance, and with that healthcare insurance, access the full range of affordable contraceptives,” MiQuel Davies, a health representative of the National Women’s Law Center, said. “Most women aren’t able to access health insurance or preventable care because of the expense, and so the affordable care act is really important for women- particularly underserved women.”

The Trump administration has affirmed that it would potentially keep some parts of the ACA. An important component outlined in the act that stands to be changed or maintained is the regulation that insurance companies cannot charge patients with pre-existing conditions that increase their need for medical care. The part of the ACA that provides people below the age of 26 with accessibility to their parents’ health insurance is another constituent that may or may not remain if the act is repealed.

“People with pre-existing conditions who need healthcare the most might be charged more, which will create a lot of barriers for them,” Miller said. “And it would come as a devastating loss to a lot of kids going to college and who are in school who can’t afford to have a full-time job that gives them benefits.”

While the ACA extends comprehensive, equitable health coverage to a wide range of recipients, it also resulted in higher premiums for many people who had insurance prior to the implementation of the act, as well as fines for the uninsured. Trump has proposed that he would minimized these costs as part of his replacement of the act.

“Trump’s ideas to ‘cut cost’ wouldn’t necessarily be effective, but it’s very difficult to speculate at this point what Trump will do,” Miller said. “What’s important to know is that the replacement is a big issue- if everything is cut, and if there’s nothing to replace it with, what will people do without something else to go off of?”

This piece was originally published in the pages of The Winged Post on February 21, 2017.