For six years, Americans have suffered under the disastrous Affordable Care Act, an unreasonably glorified piece of legislation that promoted affordable health insurance for all, and instead guaranteed just the opposite. “Obamacare” proved to the American people that what sounds good on paper does not always live up to expectations.
While “Obamacare” offered health insurance to everyone, it failed to make that health insurance affordable. Middle-class families suffered at the hands of premiums that doubled, crippling their pocketbooks. The freedom to choose a health insurance company gradually dissipated after the government smothered marketplace health insurance competitors. “Obamacare” has served as nothing more than campaign rhetoric that successfully helped secure former President Barack Obama’s presidential victory.
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Luckily, the storm is nearly over. President Donald Trump has moved in with a powerhouse of GOP legislators who are here to provide relief to the millions of Americans Obama’s empty promises have penalized.
As Obama’s final months in office played out, the majority of America woke up to realize he had successfully made affordable health insurance unattainable for masses of middle-class Americans. Small families of four with an annual income of $97,000 a year not only did not qualify for “Obamacare,” but received huge hikes in the cost of their health insurance premiums.
According to CNN Money and a Kaiser study conducted in 2015, 46 percent of uninsured Americans chose to opt out of “Obamacare” to avoid expensive premiums. Many people were willing to take the risk of having no insurance at all. Lower-income families have even preferred to opt out of health insurance and pay the federal penalty because it was more affordable. Between 2013 and 2017, health insurance premiums have risen about 140 percent for many middle-class families.
When Obama first proposed his health care plan, he promised opponents of the legislation he would not take Americans’ right to choose their health insurance companies and their health care provides. But “Obamacare” has stifled the competition, putting several health insurance providers out of business. According to the Heritage Foundation, 70 percent of counties in the U.S. have only one or two health insurance options.
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“Obamacare” has also harmed the marketplace because it has provided incentives for employers to cut jobs. Many companies felt forced to provide expensive, government-determined health insurance to all employees or they would be penalized with federal fines. In addition, companies experienced tax increases thanks to”Obamacare,” ensuring that health care is unaffordable.
Trump, with the help of a red Congress, is on his way to repealing this disastrous legislation. While determining viable solutions to “Obamacare” has required a lot of deliberation and struggle, the GOP has started by discussing the value of Americans investing in health savings accounts and receiving tax breaks on their health insurance.
Trump has advocated for tax exemption on employer-based health insurance and for individuals who purchase health insurance on their own. This is a step in the right direction. Now Trump and Congress are working to stimulate market place competition among private insurance companies and provide working class Americans with tax breaks.
In addition to Trump’s strategies for replacing “Obamacare,” U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, has enthusiastically pointed out the several sufficient bills that could replace the legislation. In an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper, Paul emphasized legalizing inexpensive health care by eliminating federal mandates attached to”Obamacare.” Paul is confident that eliminating ACA taxes on health insurance agencies and the American people will create a more competitive market place where health insurance can be offered at more inexpensive rates.
House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Janesville, has also proposed the Patients’ Choice Act, which would put the power of controlling and choosing health insurance programs back in the hands of the individual and the state. Ryan’s proposal aims to provide Americans with thousands of dollars in tax breaks and attain individualized health care that meets their needs.
Unfortunately for Democrats, who struggle to differentiate political rhetoric from reality, “Obamacare” was a disaster that made health insurance unaffordable. Luckily for America, Trump and GOP lawmakers are here to make America’s health insurance great again.
Emelia Rohl is a junior majoring in journalism and mass communications. She is the communications director for the UW College Republicans.