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Cutting Obamacare causes chaos

Jamie Yeh

Jamie Yeh

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The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), or “Obamacare” is arguably one of the most controversial issues in American politics. Since former President Obama signed the executive order on March 3, 2010, Republican lawmakers have made it their primary goal to repeal the act and take the government out of healthcare. With a Republican President and control over both houses of Congress, they finally had the opportunity to do just that. Fortunately, party infighting and a swell of activism amongst American citizens prevented a repeal and ensured that access to quality health care remains a human right across the country.
The ACA requires that almost all citizens purchase some form of health insurance and that businesses with more than 50 employees have to offer plans that meet certain qualities and cost standards. Insurance providers are then required to take all customers regardless of health status. This helps protect those with pre-existing conditions who previously had no guarantee that they would even be able to find coverage on the market. Citizens up to 400 percent of the federal poverty level are given tax-credits to purchase insurance and those up to 250 percent are given additional subsidies.
While this legislation has, according to CNBC, reduced the number of uninsured Americans to an all time low of 8.6 percent, Republicans are still unhappy with the tax increase and the requirement to purchase some level of coverage. The American Health Care Act (AHCA) was their solution, but all it did was showcase the party leaders’ disdain for the working class.
Under the AHCA, tax credits would have been based on age rather than income. And even older workers don’t have it that great. According to Vox, benefits are immediately cut off if a recipient makes more than $75,000. That combined with planned cuts to Medicaid will severely harm low income seniors and drive the uninsured rate straight back up.
What is more ridiculous is that the main result of this plan is a tax cut for the wealthy. Vox estimates that by eliminating the taxes used to fund a sizeable portion of Obamacare, the wealthy will save a combined total of $833 billion. Now keep in mind, these people are still living comfortably after taxes. The money going towards each individual does not make a noticeable difference in their quality of life. But that money makes a huge difference when invested in providing quality healthcare. NBC reported that a decrease in colonoscopies allowed 8,400 additional seniors to be diagnosed with colon cancer before it was too late. What is frightening is that lower income republican voters were set to lose the most. The Washington Post reported that 13 states that President Trump won opted to expand Medicaid using federal funds provided by the ACA. The fact that Speaker Paul Ryan was willing to sell out his party’s own base just to take a jab at former President Obama’s legacy is terrifying.
Healthcare should not be such a polarizing and partisan issue; these are people’s lives at stake. According to the Constitution, one of the very basic functions of government is to protect the inalienable right to life. By ensuring that everyone has access to quality, affordable healthcare, the federal government is doing just that. The ACA may not be perfect, but the its survival is a tremendous victory for all Americans. From the very beginning, our nation said that a person’s life comes before wealth, and fortunately enough representatives in Congress still believe in that principle.

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Cutting Obamacare causes chaos