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The Challenges of Obamacare Act

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Obamacare, also known as the Patient Protection Affordable Care Act of 2010, constitutes health care as affordable for anyone. Anyone, in this case, is everyone who is a citizen of the United States of America. This health care act lowers the costs for U.S citizens who cannot afford it. The act is intended to “achieve universal medical insurance coverage for all Americans and lower the costs of health nationally”. This health care act has been an all-inclusive enactment since the Social Security Act of 1935 which mandated a beneficial system for older people in the workforce and highlighted the victims of industrial accidents, unemployment insurance, aid for dependent mothers and children, the blind, and the physically handicapped. Obamacare has revived the U.S healthcare system since the 1960s. The main reason why it takes on the name of one of the past presidents is that he fought for this reform during his four-year office from 2009-2017. Congress has been unable to consolidate sufficient support to repeal this act and with the election of Donald J. Trump, there can be substantive changes in this act in the mere future.

The most controversial topic on Obamacare being repealed and replaced the president’s Affordable Care Act and the conservative reaction towards it was as if it was a simple past tense, according to The Washington Post. For the first time in decades, the conservative and GOP (Grand Old Party) had failed two years ago in the achievement to reel back the Affordable Care Act as being the first big legislative piece controlled by one side of the political party. A negotiator of the House, Republican Tom MacArthur says, “Yeah we probably can’t talk credibly about repeal and replace anymore” according to The Washington Post. This “repeal and replace” has been an enchantment of Republican campaigns for four straight years in election cycles which drove conservatives in the House and Senate. This gave a helping hand to preserve Republican power which gave the open opportunity to elect President Trump. The repeal of Obamacare has been the slogan for the conservative and GOP and beat the Democrats over the head with it. In a recent poll done by Huffpost, voters picked health care as the top two issues in 2018. Trump did indeed want this to be eliminated in his first year in office; however, he does not seem to mention it now. Democrats have been defending this act for years now, they just seem uneasy and can’t take full advantage of this act. So what did they do, they tried to sell it to a “skeptical public and weathering criticism”. Instead of selling it as this “skeptical critique”, targeting unpopular repeal and replace bills passed by the House and Senate is much more acceptable. For example, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee ran MSNBC and CNN ads targeting former House Speaker Paul D. Ryan for pursuing to loosen protections for those with pre-existing conditions, increasing insurance premiums for older Americans, and easing lifetime limits on coverage.

This act has been given full attention in the House of Representatives. The House’s first votes in 2019 were in obligation to intervene with Texas v. Azar, which challenges Obamacare. This lawsuit was put on hold in January in an attempt to avoid the government shutdown. As the government reopened it was then the litigation had been resumed and the request to intervene was due in February 2019. This intervene has been a series of emphasizing protections for people with preexisting conditions and the clash of changes made by the Trump administration to sabotage the Affordable Care Act. On January 29th, the first hearing by the Ways and Means Committee. Although both parties had conversed about expressing support for continued protection for those with medical conditions, Republicans focused their questions solely on ACA replacements such as high-risk pools and non-ACA products, for example, association health plans. After the first hearing, three separate hearings were as followed. They were all on February 9th of this year and were in the Committee on Appropriations, Energy and Commerce Committee, and the Education and Labor Committee. These hearings generally focused on protections for people with preexisting conditions, and the Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee devoted its full hearing to the Texas litigation. Each hearing featured expert witnesses, patient advocates, and consumers who have been impacted by the ACA or non-ACA-compliant plans, such as short-term plans according to the Health Affairs Blog. Democratic House leaders will also continue their efforts related to the ACA, with additional hearings. In addition, Republican members have introduced ACA-related legislation, such as a bill that would add a clause to some of the ACA’s protections if the bill is found unconstitutional, but as with proposed legislation in the Senate, bills would not fill in some gaps left by Texas in the event that the ACA is invalidated in whole or in part.

The U.S Supreme Court upheld provisions of the Patient Protection and the ACA after about twenty-six states challenged its authority in lower courts. In the 5-4 decision in the Supreme Court, two key existing provisions were determined. The first being an individual mandate and the other being a requirement that states expand qualifications for Medicaid coverage. As for the individual mandate, which requires all Americans to purchase health insurance or face a government penalty; however, there are some expectations. Those expectations suffice for low-income individuals who can’t afford to buy insurance. Without a mandate, fewer healthy people would pay to outweigh the cost combined with care for the sick. Younger people would be able to “free ride” then purchase health insurance only when they get sick and after paying almost nothing upfront when their services were lower. States that challenged the ACA argued that the individual mandate was an overreach of Congress’s commerce clause powers. The mandate was found to be as constitutional as a tax, not a tax though under the ACA. Since this mandate intends as an encouragement to purchase health care, other taxes were placed to promote certain behaviors. As for the second provision, expansion for Medicaid coverage. This required to expand their Medicaid programs to help individuals with incomes up to 33% above the poverty level or face the penalty. This provision is designed to increase programs to incorporate less privileged of affording insurance under the mandate.

As for my opinion on Obamacare, I feel that it is beneficial for people who can’t afford healthcare. I don’t agree with the repeal of this act but there can obviously be some changes to it because not everything is perfect. Anything that lowers the cost for inpatient or outpatient care, prescription drug coverage, pregnancy and childbirth, mental health services, and more services that help people incapable of paying because of circumstances. What I also agree on is that the ACA provides health care for people with pre-existing conditions; whereas, in the past, private insurance did not provide this was what so ever. When enrolling in the ACA, insurance premiums are based on family income and number of household members. Something that needs to be looked at in this act are the premiums charged to the people who need Obamacare.

Before 2014, premiums decreased because of age groups but are increasing after 2014 due to the following: pre-existing medical conditions, an increase in medical costs, and health problems as a result of an increase in age probability.

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