The Affordable Care Act- Where are we Headed?

The Affordable Care Act was signed into legislature in October of 2010, with its laws to be implemented over the next 12 years.  Since its inception, the ACA has suffered from several setbacks that have raised concern from both sides of the isle.  President Trump made the “repeal of Obamacare” a primary focus during his campaign and is now looking to dismantle the program in the upcoming year.  So, we need to understand how the ACA has impacted the American healthcare system for both individuals and businesses alike.

The idea behind the Affordable Care Act was to offer healthcare to those that were previously unable to afford it, thus the name.  Those that were employed in industries whose employers did not offer insurance and those individuals that fell below the national poverty level, were to benefit most from this new law.  Some of the main selling points of the ACA were:

  • The Marketplace to compare rates
  • Cost assistance for individuals and businesses that qualified
  • Employers with over 49 full-time employees had to offer insurance
  • Individuals could not be denied for pre-existing conditions
  • Young adults could stay on their parents plan until the age of 26
  • Expansion of Medicaid coverage

As an individual who has always paid for his own insurance, the Affordable Care Act seemed like a great idea, until it began to take form.  With website issues to soaring rates, most Americans soon began to realize what I did, that the Affordable Care Act was not so affordable.  Both premiums and deductibles have been skyrocketing since Obamacare was enacted, with many carriers opting to leave the exchanges.  Many people became furious with a system that forces them to pay for a services whose price is not controlled by the same agency.  The expansion of Medicaid also left most states unable to cover the sheer cost of those covered under Obamacare.  Again, the idea of the Affordable Care Act was to bring healthcare to those that could not afford it, which is a great concept.  The issue now is that those who could barely afford healthcare in the past, cannot afford to pay the new rates.  So, we have working class Americans that are being forced to pay more than they can feasibly afford, while others opt to pay the fine for not being covered.  Either way, it is a lose-lose situation for those who make a modest living.

With no clear plans, President Trump claims “We’re going to have insurance for everybody” and has left many wondering just how and when this will be possible? Republican lawmakers are expected to dismiss provisions in the law using the budget reconciliation process.  The two major factors affected by this process could be the directive that all citizens must have healthcare and the ruling pertaining to businesses with 50 or more employees providing healthcare for its employees.  The provision would also cut funding for Medicaid expansion, which is a necessity for the continuation of the expansion.  The Medicaid program is already struggling to provide care to its core obligations, simply due to the fact it consumes a large portion of state and federal budgets.

Only time will tell as to the fate of Obamacare, but if the newly elected President and his advisors want to make real change, then they need to include some of the provisions set forth by the Affordable Care Act.  Conversely, the GOP needs to cut the parts of Obamacare that have been a burden to the American people.