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What Is Obamacare?

Updated on August 5, 2017
Stephen Sinclair profile image

Stephen Sinclair is a freelance Canadian writer who has been publishing professionally for several years.

Former U.S. President Barack Obama
Former U.S. President Barack Obama | Source

President Trump Promised To 'Repeal And Replace' Obamacare

U.S. Senator from Vermont Bernie Sanders has spoken, several times, about how the United States is one of the only countries in the industrialized world that does not provide universal health care for all of its citizens. For a number of reasons, the necessary political support to pass universal health care legislation in the United States has been elusive, despite the efforts of Senator Sanders and others like him. Obamacare, as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act became known, was former President Barack Obama's attempt to bring health care to all Americans, as reported by The Guardian.

"After decades of inaction, we have finally decided to fix what is broken about healthcare in America," President Obama stated in 2010. "We have decided that it's time to give every American quality healthcare at an affordable cost."

While Obamacare did bring health insurance into the lives of millions for whom it was previously inaccessible, it has been noted that the legislation fell short of providing "universal" health care for all Americans. Millions of Americans remained uninsured after the introduction of the bill.

Obamacare: Key Points

  • Signed into law on March 23, 2010
  • 25 million more Americans insured under Obamacare
  • Still 31 million uninsured under Obamacare; not true "universal" health coverage
  • The AHCA would have resulted in many of these people losing coverage
  • The AHCA did not pass in U.S. Congress and does not currently have political support
  • President Donald Trump believes Obamacare will "explode"
  • The New York Times, and others, disagree with the president's assessment

President Trump: Obamacare Will 'Explode'

Many Republican politicians have been critical of Obamacare, pointing to increased deficits, and reduced choice for consumers. One of the promises that helped propel President Donald Trump to his November-2016 election win was that he would "repeal and replace" Obamacare. A vote in U.S. Congress scheduled for this week was cancelled after the necessary support among Republicans could not be garnered, resulting in the bill to replace Obamacare, the American Health Care Act, dying. It has been noted that the Republican bill, championed by a Republican president, was unable to pass in a legislature controlled by Republicans, 237-193.

Politico reports that President Trump holds the belief that Obamacare will "explode," eventually becoming unsustainable with participating companies unable to provide affordable policies, or any policies at all. The New York Times has offered the opinion that the Affordable Care Act, as Obamacare is also sometimes shortened to, is not even close to being in a "death spiral," and that "it won't 'explode' on its own." Had it passed, the AHCA was expected to reduce the deficit by $300 billion over the next 10 years.

Estimates from the Congressional Budget Office and President Trump's own Office of Budget and Management variously estimated that 24 and 26 million people would lose their coverage under the AHCA over the next 10 years. Further, the bill would likely have implemented a "per capita lump sum" limit on Medicaid patients, seen having serious ramifications on those requiring specialized care, and have cut the requirement that states included in the Medicaid expansion provide "addiction services."

The U.S. Capitol
The U.S. Capitol | Source

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Congress Upholds Obamacare

The AHCA was said to have added significant penalties, as much as 30 percent, for those who allow their insurance to lapse, perhaps because they couldn't afford the payments, and then wished to reenter the market. The AHCA would have also allowed employers stop offering plans, and that the changes would leave the "poor, sick, and elderly" with "inadequate coverage." For now, the changes proposed under the AHCA do not appear likely to make their way into law.

FactCheck.org reports that Obamacare resulted in 25 million more Americans gaining health insurance than previous to its implementation, including expanding the number of people covered under Medicaid. However, the ACA still was still estimated to have left 31 million people without health insurance, falling short of being "universal" health care. Senator Sanders has noted that, in addition to guaranteeing health are for all citizens, nations like Canada are also able to deliver health care more efficiently, costing less per patient than the partially market-based U.S. health care system.

One American, Craig Moss, became known for appearing at Donald Trump campaign rallies around the nation, singing the then-candidate's praises. President Trump once told Mr. Moss personally that he was a "great father," and that he would help everyone in Craig Moss' son's situation. Rob "J.R." Moss was said to have been found dead in his bedroom, the victim of a drug overdose. Once believing that Donald Trump would help people in his son's position, now that he was seen that the AHCA would result in 24-26 million people losing their health insurance, Craig Moss has pulled his backing of President Donald Trump.

President Donald Trump
President Donald Trump | Source

© 2017 Stephen Sinclair

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    • jman00001 profile image

      jman00001 5 months ago from Texas

      I just found out the hard way that Obamacare was more of a scam than anyone realized. There was a hidden price ceiling that ended March 2017 (after Obama left office). Now medical insurance can raise as they see fit. That is what just happened.

      50% to 80% monthly premium cost increases occurred. Millions of employed making under $100k per year are CANCELLING American healthcare insurance. The average family's monthly cost in 2017 is $800 to $1,200 per month plus high deductibles and much higher copays such as $60 to $120 just to visit doctor. The govt planned the insurance price ceiling "thaw" in 2017 to happen just after Obama left office...

      Estimate is that over 25 million workers have dropped healthcare since April 2017. People are choosing cheaper tax penalty. Then, if major health event occurs, they buy in at that time with 30% penalty. Many USA employers are RECOMMENDING the drop out.

      Folks this ACA / Obamacare tax fraud was many times worse than the Boston tea party and will be worse than the mortgage bailout.

      Obama, Clinton, Peloci and many others are guilty of high treason in this ACA trillion dollar fraud to reallocate trillions from the working class to the rich insurance firms.

      Real truth is fewer people now in 2017 carry health insurance than BEFORE ACA was enacted. Good luck

    • SherrieWeynand profile image

      Sherrie Weynand 6 months ago from San Francisco, CA

      While I believe the ACA is inherently flawed, as of this point, it is a much better alternative to the AHCA. I also agree with Senator Sanders, we should not be the only nation in the developed world without healthcare for all. People hear that and rush to the cry of "socialism" before they think it through. If we have the means of increasing our military budget by $54 billion, we have the means of protecting the lives and health of our citizens. On average of about $35 per year in taxes from everyone would cover it. Less than a cup of coffee per month. We do need major healthcare reform, the ACA was the start of that, now it's time to fix it entirely. Single payor, healthcare for all, will be what does that. Insurance companies will not be happy, but at some point, we have to step ahead of greed. People will die without coverage, but for now at least the Republican alternative is dead in the water.