Tuesday, Jan. 31 marked the last day to enroll in 2017 health plans covered by the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as “Obamacare.” While that date was crucial, many may have missed it because the Trump administration removed ACA advertising from their site. On Jan. 26, Trump’s administration began halting advertisements that would’ve otherwise helped individuals, especially younger people, sign up for health insurance.
Obamacare is hailed as one of the most important statutes to impact the U.S. healthcare system since... ever. Although historical, the Trump administration is looking to scrap it and replace it with what opponents call “Trumpcare.” In fact, there are already signs of Obamacare’s downfall.
U.S healthcare is complicated, to say the least – there are many stakeholders, words like “deductible” and “premiums,” and a lot of confusion in media. In short, most adults in the U.S. are responsible for their own healthcare. Unlike many other countries, the U.S. does not have universal healthcare nor does it subsidize private individual healthcare. If you are not elderly, low-income, living with a disability or a veteran, you most likely have to find your own insurance. Insurance is often included as part of a job, but that means for those without a job, many go without coverage since they can’t afford it.
However, Obama pushed for Obamacare, which got passed into law in 2010 and gave citizens the opportunity to sign up for government-subsidized health insurance. While still expensive, the law helped make health insurance affordable for all Americans. It’s impossible to explain all the all the nuts and bolts of this mandate, but in a nutshell, people are required to purchase an insurance plan that would be partially paid by the U.S. government. The law wasn’t exactly popular – people were penalized for not purchasing health insurance, and some insurance companies backed out because fewer people signed up than anticipated. However, Obamacare was able to reduce the uninsured rate in the U.S. While there is (or was) some confusion as to exactly how many people got coverage under Obamacare, there was a seven-percentage-point drop in the uninsured rate for adults since 2013. Even six years after its enactment, however, many people are still confused about Obamacare and the U.S. healthcare system in general. In fact, some people do not know that Obamacare is the same thing as the Affordable Care Act.
One of President Trump’s campaign promises was to repeal Obamacare. According to his website, “Since March of 2010, the American people have had to suffer under the incredible economic burden of the Affordable Care Act—Obamacare… [it] has tragically but predictably resulted in runaway costs, websites that don’t work, greater rationing of care, higher premiums, less competition and fewer choices.”
President Trump is committed, through free market principles and cooperation, to “broaden healthcare access, make healthcare more affordable and improve the quality of the care available to all Americans.”
Because of Obamacare’s impending downfall, there has been an increase in people signing up for 2017 coverage. According to the U.S Department of Health and Human Services, 11.5 million people have signed up for coverage since December 24, 2016.
Trump’s replacement for Obamacare is unclear. He has a seven-point plan on his website, but it seems as though his administration doesn’t know how to accomplish this. On Jan. 27, The Washington Post reported that members of the administration were fretting over how to repeal Obamacare and what to replace it with.
Regardless, the uncertainty of what the Trump administration will do is frightening, leaving many uncertain and concerned about what Trumpcare might look like.