One of the first executive orders President Tump signed was to expedite the repeal of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also referred to as Obamacare. On Jan. 20, 2017, shortly after his inauguration, he ventured into the Oval Office to sign various presidential directives. During his campaigning, he explicitly attacked the national insurance plan for the uninsured and uninsurable. The idea of the repeal of Obamacare prompted fearful response across America.
Once he secured the election, Trump varied the rhetoric, claiming his intent is to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. The president’s intent is vague, and no details about his plan seem to be available. Republicans have pushed back against the insurance program initiated by former President Obama since its inception.
Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act Pros and Cons
Kimberly Amadeo, a writer for The Balance, broke down the best and the worst facts about the country’s insurance plan. The biggest advantage is that it provides lower healthcare costs by providing free preventive care. The Affordable Care Act requires participating insurance plans to cover mental health, chronic illnesses, addiction/recovery, and seven other essential health benefits.
Those with pre-existing medical conditions cannot be denied coverage, and if a patient becomes ill, their rates cannot be raised or can they be dropped from the plan. There are no annual coverage and lifetime limits. The program allows adult children 26 and younger to be covered under their parents’ health insurance.
Obamacare created a Federal government exchange. States were encouraged to set up their own systems or use the one provided. These programs were designed to make it easier for patients to shop for participating insurance companies.
Tax credits are provided for premiums paid those identified as middle class. The Affordable Care Act lessened the regulations for Medicaid and allowed people without children to be covered, which is a new benefit. The Act requires businesses with more than 50 employees to provide insurance and offers tax credits to offset the costs. Moreover, the Medicare doughnut hole gap will be eliminated by 2020.
Many negative things about Obamacare occurred as a result of the positives. The biggest one, was many insurance companies canceled plans to avoid covering the 10 essential benefits required by the Affordable Care Act. Many employers chose to pay the tax penalties as opposed to incurring the added expenses for insurance, leaving between 3-5 million people without insurance. These things increased the premium costs for the neediest.
States Grapple With the Fear of Losing the Affordable Care Act
The states that chose to participate in either the Federal insurance exchange or set up their own find they must now deal with the potential loss of Obamacare. One such state is Oregon. Nearly 500,000 people were able to obtain assistance with premiums or free medical services through Oregon Health Plan (OHP), which is the state insurance exchange.
In 2013 the Medicaid population in Oregon was 614, 000 people. The next year, the Affordable Care Act began, and the number increased to 999,000, then in 2015, there were over 1 million participants in the OHP. Naturally, the state’s costs increased a well, in 2013; $3.34 billion; in 2104, $4.64 billion; and in 2015, $6.42 billion. However, in 2016 the patient count was lower than the year before, but the costs were higher. OHP included 992,067 members at a total cost of $6.67 billion.
Oregonians who benefit from the private insurance program with the Affordable Care Act in 2016 was 147,000 people, and in 2017, there was an increase of 4,000. During the presidential transition, many people were fearful of Obamacare’s dissolution through repeal. As the 2017 deadline loomed, people signed up in droves. One hundred fifty-five thousand people registered, which is double the number of those who signed up in 2014; 68,308.
Dr. Bruce Goldberg, an administrator at Oregon Health & Science University explained his concerns:
I hope they don’t want to see millions of people losing coverage. But they’ll decrease the funding or more sublty decrease funding by ignoring inflation.
Goldberg is not the only voice expressing concern for those who most need medical insurance. The Democratic party is sending out daily email blasts seeking support to fight against the repeal. Some members of the GOP are also expressing concern. Many do not understand how President Trump plans to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. The president has not been forthcoming with any plans explaining how this is going to work, leaving Americans uncertain about the future of their healthcare.
By Cathy Milne
CNN: Repealing Obamacare: Trump says fast, Congress says slow
the balance: 10 Obamacare Pros and Cons
The Oregonian: How will Oregon fill the Medicaid gap?
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