By: Jack Vaughan
Even before the Affordable Care Act (ACA), nicknamed Obamacare, was signed into law under Obama’s presidency, Republican opponents were planning an attack against the health care act. Despite the potential life-threatening and costly effects, the Republican-led Congress has taken the first steps toward repealing the ACA in its entirety. Unless Congress can come up with a replacement for the ACA at the same time as the repeal, 18 million people will lose their insurance in the first year. While only 19 percent of Americans approve of the ACA in its current form, the majority of people only feel it needs adjustments, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation poll. However, the Republicans insist on fully repealing and replacing the act. This adds to the countless responsibilities that President Donald Trump will face while in office.
After six years of campaigning against the ACA, the focus of Congressional Republicans is on creating a new health care plan that effectively insures those covered by the ACA while eliminating the flaws and expanding coverage. Kentucky Senator Rand Paul outlined his ACA replacement package on January 16.
“One of the key reforms that we will do is, we’re going to legalize the sale of inexpensive insurance,” Senator Paul said. “That means getting rid of the Obamacare mandates on what you can buy. We are going to help people save through health savings accounts, as well as a tax credit.” Sen. Paul stated that the replacement will “insure the most amount of people, give access to the most amount of people, at the least amount of cost.” While this might sound like great news to people who need healthcare and those who have suffered from the rising cost of the ACA in its current form, Democrats have shown great distrust in the idea of repealing the act.
“Less health care and it will cost more,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said. He stated that in repealing Obamacare, “you cannot repeal a plan and put nothing in its place. It doesn’t matter if you say the repeal won’t take place for a year or two years.”
People in cities from Fresno to Baltimore staged protests against the push for repealing the ACA. Democrats organized 70 official rallies across the country to fight against the replacement proposal. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) hosted rallies and spoke out against the replacement agenda.
People of all ages turned out to show their support for the ACA. Students, especially, face the potential of losing their health care coverage because the ACA allowed young people to remain covered under their parent’s plan. Many of the protests were held at universities, particularly medical schools, and were attended by hundreds of students who disagreed with the Republican’s proposed replacement.