Should We Repeal Obamacare?


image courtesy of The Nation

Greyson Mize, staff writer

Ever since the Affordable Care Act, or ACA, was put in place in 2010 there has been a wave of Republican opposition to President Barack Obama’s signature legislation. The law has caused so much controversy because it is said to raise taxes to absurd heights, impose too many costs on businesses, and violate the affairs of private businesses and individuals. Several attempts were made to achieve its removal shortly after it was passed, but they were ultimately struck down when the Supreme Court ruled the ACA constitutional in 2012. Only recently has the conversation picked back up with the election of President Donald Trump, who used the promise of repealing Obamacare as a foundation for his campaign. However, less discussed are the enormous consequences the sudden withdrawal of the ACA that Trump has promised.

Obamacare has made a positive impact in the lives of many. Multiple studies from the National Bureau of Economic Research in 2014 found that its enactment improved the average American’s health status and access to health care. The Affordable Care Act made insurance companies spend at least 80 percent of insurance premiums on medical care and improvements, giving customers a larger range of coverage options. Additionally, there are now no time limits on care. Before the law was passed, patients with chronic health issues ran out of coverage in a matter of years when insurance companies set a bar on how much they would spend on a specific person. While the law may cause higher taxes, the advantages of the bill vastly outweigh the disadvantages. Now compare that to the predicted outcome of Obamacare’s removal. A study by the Urban Institute Health Policy Center reported that 30 million people will lose all of their health care services, and an estimated 43,956 people will die annually if the ACA is repealed.

Another issue is the increasingly steep prices of prescription drugs. A study done by Healthline magazine found that an AIDS patient not covered by health care pays more than $36,000 a year for treatment, $26,882 more than the average American’s tax bill in 2014. Under the Affordable Care Act, beneficiaries receive a 50% discount on HIV repression and treatment. This impacts the spread of AIDS significantly as the number of infections via unclean needles in poverty stricken neighborhoods rise. This problem was encountered in 2011 in Scott County in Indiana when former Governor and current Vice President Mike Pence defunded Planned Parenthood, eliminating the only place to be tested and treated for HIV in the county.  Nearly 20 percent of Scott County residents live below the poverty line, and the injection of illegal substances there is a major problem. Without a clean needle exchange system and no means to be tested, an outbreak was eminent. In only four years the problem had expanded to the point that 20 new cases of HIV were diagnosed each week, reaching a total of nearly 200 cases. While the outbreak was brought to the attention of the Governor in late January 2015, it took him until April to respond to it, first telling the public he was going to “pray about it,” before finally allowing a temporary needle exchange in Scott County. Combine the existing war against Planned Parenthood with the removal of the ACA, and it is nearly impossible for poor Americans to be tested and treated for AIDS, a lifetime illness.

So, should we repeal Obamacare? The simple answer is no. Unless President Trump has an easily accessible miracle health care plan up his sleeve, removing 30 million people’s means of keeping themselves healthy would be disastrous for America’s mortality rate. The idea of letting tens of thousands of people die out for the purpose of paying lower taxes, under the command of a man who has been brought to court for not paying taxes is ridiculous. If you truly care about all lives in America, you won’t support the withdrawal of the Affordable Care Act.