The Affordable Care Act often referred to as “Obamacare” is a United States federal bill, which was signed by the former president, Barack Obama. The ACA is aimed at the establishment of health insurance exchanges, prohibiting health insurers from not allowing coverage due to pre-existing conditions and the expansion of Medicaid eligibility.
When the law was enacted, it was estimated that it would help reduce the federal deficit by almost $145 billion in its first ten years. According to official government data, about 20 million American citizens have benefited from insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act (Sommers). However, at the same time, the Act has also created controversy and there have been many efforts for its repeal. During his presidential campaign, President Trump had announced that he would repeal and replace the law.
Many believe that Obamacare will have negative consequences on the American economy, mostly on its growth and the employment market of the country. However, the biggest legislative hurdle in the way of the Act is a potential loss of funding by Congress. There are chances that health care reform packages might face budgetary losses. If adequate funding is not provided, it can seriously hamper the implementation of the ACA’s goals(Cohen).
The second hurdle is administrative implementation. The political environment for the full implementation of this law is hostile (Leontaridis). The Act also requires the payers to cover all the costs of patients’ preventive services, which include immunizations or cancer screening. This requires the payers to spend more so they simply pass down the costs to consumers by means of higher premiums. This has left the payers in a state of grievance as they have found themselves in financial losses because they are serving an older and more costly population on health insurance exchanges. Those health insurance companies, which operate through these exchanges, are now serving a more costly consumer base than the Obama administration had originally anticipated.
Despite these hurdles, the ruling party has been unable to repeal and replace the Act, as it had declared. Mr. Trump has repeatedly claimed before the public that the Republicans will bring forth a new healthcare plan and that replacement will work side by side with repeal. However, despite such claims, no replacement plan has yet been devised which, itself, is why the ruling party is unable to repeal the law yet. Many Republicans have acknowledged that waiting a year to replace the law would be a mistake. President Trump’s statements have led to higher expectations for his party, but his party is having a hard time meeting them due to a slow legislative process.
Democrats have been unified in opposing the Grand Old Party’s efforts for repealing the Act but they have also stated that they will consider what the Republicans will propose as the Act’s replacement. Thus, the GOP lawmakers have so far suggested that they build up a new health care package with a series of bills, rather than construct a whole package.
There have been many attempts by the Grand Old Party to repeal the law, but all have so far ended in vain. The GOP has consistently declared that repealing Obamacare is an important goal on the party’s agenda. In his first televised interview after the elections, Donald Trump said that repeal and replace would take place simultaneously. However, when the House did release a replacement bill, some Conservatives opposed it, calling it “Obamacare 2.0.” Afterward, many parts of the Act were amended and many bills had been proposed by the Republicans but as of now, no consensus has been built around their replacement plans. Thus, the GOP has so far been unable to fulfill its assurances of repeal because of the lack of a considerate replacement program.
Cohen, Joshua P. “Implementing the Affordable Care Act: remaining hurdles.” Clinical Therapeutics 37.4 (2015).
Leontaridis, Theodora. “Syllabus for American Government Course with Openstax-Zero Textbook Cost.” (2017).
Sommers, Benjamin D., et al. “The Affordable Care Act has led to significant gains in health insurance and access to care for young adults.” Health affairs (2012).