One of the bigger concerns surrounding the current political climate is the potential repeal of Obamacare, or the Affordable Care Act. The good news for now is that the potential replacement that the Republican Party and President Trump proposed did not pass through the Senate vote. So, for the time being, the potential repeal remains “potential.” But, this does not mean that another proposition is not forthcoming. If you are currently insured, it is important to understand what the removal of the Affordable Care Act will do to your life, and your healthcare prospects.
If you have not yet considered the ramifications of this potential repeal of the Affordable Care Act, you might want to start. To begin, if the program is fully removed and replaced, an estimated 23 million Americans could lose their health insurance. According to the Congressional Budget Office, individual insurance premiums could increase by up to 50 percent if the bill is repealed. These two numbers, alone are reason to be concerned about the repeal and the replacement that the current administration has in store. The lack of medical care that could result from the repeal of the Affordable Care Act could result in the deaths of tens of thousands of Americans who suffer from life-threatening illness or who live in poverty. These people would no longer have access to the life-saving medical care and treatment they need. Thankfully, the proposed replacement by the Trump administration and the GOP did not remove the pre-existing condition clause. This is a good sign that any future potential replacements will likely keep this beneficial, life-saving facet of our national healthcare.
There are several facets of Obamacare that make it much easier for people to get health insurance coverage. It removes the possibility of denial for pre-existing conditions, it allows younger people to stay on their parent’s insurance for longer and it expands Medicaid. This provides health insurance to families and individuals without the means to otherwise afford healthcare. The Medicaid expansion portion of Obamacare is the part that allows so many Americans to have access to affordable healthcare. Revoking this would arguably be the most detrimental effect of repealing the Affordable Care Act. Obamacare increased the available coverage for poor and lower-income Americans for those adults who earn up to around $16,000 annually, and decreased the healthcare costs for any Americans who earn under $30,000 annually. Repealing the Affordable Care Act will mean that any policyholders who no longer fall under the updated income parameters would lose their access to healthcare, which includes all of the children of lower-income Americans.
The driving factor behind repealing Obamacare is to decrease government costs, and to divert those funds elsewhere. While this may be advantageous to the wider Republican Party and the current administration, pulling government funds away from healthcare will drive up the costs that the average American must pay for, in terms of anything health-related. This means higher insurance premiums, increased hospital fees and more expensive prescriptions for the larger population. The middle class who would still get insurance coverage under a potential replacement would no longer receive the benefits of subsidized healthcare. Despite the tax-saving premise behind the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, there would be almost non-existent tax relief for many Americans, but a large tax cut for the wealthy Americans.
Fortunately, all Americans who have signed up for health insurance through Obamacare will have their coverage for the entirety of the current year. Unfortunately, there is still an entire calendar year for the Republican Party and the current administration to create and fine-tune a replacement plan. The new plan will likely lead to the loss of insurance for millions of Americans. If you are among the many who will be affected by the potential repeal and replacement of Obamacare, start preparing accordingly. Obviously, if you are among the lower-income population who will lose your health insurance, there may not be much you can do. But, knowing in advance that you will lose your health coverage gives you ample time to plan to get insurance. If you are in the percentage of Americans who will maintain their health insurance, but will see higher premiums and increased medical costs, this may give you enough time to save money for these future health costs. All Americans with health insurance should know where they stand in relation to the Affordable Care Act, and should discuss the future with their current health insurance providers.