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Point Counterpoint: The only catastrophe related to ACA would be repealing it

Republicans blind hatred of 'Obamacare' is not rooted in fact, endangers American lives

· Mar 7, 2017 Tweet

Greta Zimmermann/The Badger Herald

After victories in November, Republicans in Congress and in the White House have felt emboldened to deliver on their campaign promise to “repeal and replace ‘Obamacare,’” but do they have the mandate to take such drastic action on legislation that has insured more than 22 million Americans? Despite Republican majorities in both houses of Congress and a Republican White House, only 26 percent of Americans favor a complete repeal of the Affordable Care Act.

Elements of the ACA have widespread bipartisan support across the country. Individuals under 26 can now stay on their parents’ insurance plan, those who need health care the most can no longer be denied insurance because of a pre-existing condition and women can no longer be charged more than men simply because of their gender.

Families like College Democrats Chair Augie McGinnity-Wake’s used to be burdened with extremely high premiums before the ACA, because of his father’s pre-existing heart condition.

“The Affordable Care Act is one of the reasons I can afford to go to college,” McGinnity-Wake explained. “When the ACA passed, the premiums my family had to pay per year lowered by thousands of dollars.”

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A complete repeal before an adequate replacement has been passed, a repeal that would kick millions of Americans off of their health insurance plan or force premiums to skyrocket to alarming rates, would be irresponsible at best. But it seems that this is just what Republicans in Congress are dead set on doing.

Republicans are completely divided on how, when and with what to “repeal and replace” the ACA. There is now even debate about whether to use the phrase “repeal and replace” anymore. The few concrete ideas that have been laid out will only result in coverage that is harder to get and provides inferior care. The “specific” plan recently laid out by house Republicans is anything but specific. The only thing the plan really goes into detail about, is its hyperbolized criticism of the ACA. It was even criticized by other Republicans for its lack of detail regarding a replacement plan.

According to PolitiFact, the complete repeal approach before an adequate replacement has been developed could result in insurance rates rising at alarming rates, collapse of the insurance markets created by the ACA and an increase in the federal deficit by removing ACA-created subsidies without decreasing the cost of health care overall. This could all result in a crisis for the health care and the health insurance industries, not to mention the fact that millions of people will lose the coverage they so desperately need. The GOP health care plan redirects federal funding towards wealthier Americans over those who need it the most and does not specify how it would provide continuing coverage for those with pre-existing conditions.

The plan also involves a complete defunding of Planned Parenthood, which would eliminate crucial services like cancer screenings, STI testing, prenatal care and low-cost birth control for millions of low-income women. Medicaid expansion will also receive a serious cut in funding from the federal government, resulting in devastating effects on low-income families who rely on federally-backed insurance programs for the care that they need.

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It has been made clear to the American people that the ACA is not the catastrophic law that Republican legislators have spent years claiming it is. The plan Republicans have been claiming will be better is not so perfect and potentially non-existent. Republicans have realized that the complete overhaul of our nation’s health care system that they have dreamed of for so long may not be as easy as they thought. Some “new” Republican health care policies like the “continuing coverage incentives” seem oddly similar to former President Barack Obama’s individual mandate that many Republicans ranted and raved against.

Republicans in Congress have yet to prove that their plan to replace the Affordable Care Act will provide better coverage, at lower costs, to more people. Health care is a human right and our government should continue to work toward policies that achieve this right for every person in America.

Eliana Locke ([email protected]) is a sophomore majoring in political science.