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Obamacare: What happens now?

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In the April 7 edition of the University Place Press, a mix-up occurred in that an op-ed piece by Pierce County Councilwoman Connie Ladenburg was incorrectly by- lined as being written by Katie Landenburg, who had also submitted an op-ed piece that did not make it into the paper. The following is Katie Ladenburg’s correct op-ed, with Connie Ladenburg’s also printed here with her correct byline. University Place Press apologizes for the errors.

With the change of presi dency, Donald Trump plans to repeal the Afford able Care Act. Many are con cerned as to what will happen after this repeal, espe-
cially those who have received
health coverage directly because of this law. The ACA, commonly known as Obamacare, set out to do three main things. It affected what types of health care products you could buy, how you could buy them, and when you could pur chase those products. On March 23, 2010, when former President Barack Obama was in office, he stated at the bill sign ing, “The core principle, that everybody should have some basic security when it comes to their health care.” Did Obam acare do what it set out to do? Depends who you ask. The common answer is that it is still unfolding. But with more than 50 repeals from the Republican-controlled Congress passed since its signing, the ACA has become the most divisive piece of legislation during Obama’s tenure.
Health coverage in the United States is often criticized for being overly com plicated and exorbitantly expensive. Healthcare is not treated as a right, but rather a privilege, one granted to those who are healthy, and wealthy enough to afford it. The ACA attempted to address these issues. One of the principle benefits to the passage of the ACA was a sizable expansion to Medicaid. Currently, Wash ington receives nearly $6.9 billion from the federal government for Medicaid. For those in or near poverty, Medicaid is a blessing, but it is not without its problems. Those on Medicaid often have a very limited resource of doctors. Many do not accept Medicaid, due to its pay outs being much lower than other forms of insurance. The ACA addressed those not eligible for Medicaid by the use of tax subsidies. These subsidies ease the burden of purchasing health insurance.
But with rising premiums, and tax cred its not rising at equal levels, many find themselves choosing cheaper options. Of middle-class Americans, about 70 per cent have purchased into silver level, or mid-tier, coverage. It is projected that this number will fall to around 66 percent because of these rising premiums.
Other countries, such as Canada, use a two-tier system for health coverage. Can ada’s government-funded, single payer healthcare system provides basic health care for all citizens. They also utilize a second tier, available to those who can pay for it, that allows for additional care, better quality, or faster access. Their system differs from ours, as it is not a for profit enterprise, which negates the indus try from focusing on their bottom line.
Another core feature to Obamacare is to allow those with pre-existing condi tions to not be denied coverage. If Trump and Congress repeal Obamacare, we may return to a time in which those who sought coverage after becoming preg nant could be denied. Those with serious illness, like cancer, could be removed from their coverage because their medical expenses are too great for the insurance company covering them.
With a looming repeal, the 22.8 mil lion people who have enrolled in health care through the ACA are now at risk at being without some sort of cover age again. Without a replacement in the works, repealing the Affordable Care Act will effectively revert laws to those that existed prior to its passage. This would include a significant loss in federal funds for Medicaid. Funding for Planned Par enthood will also likely be diminished. There is large support for the defunding of Planned Parenthood because of the misconception that it is primarily an abor tion clinic. However, it provides numer ous services, including walk-in visits for free birth control for men and women, free STD tests, and free cervical and breast cancer screening.
Where does this leave the disenfran chised? It leaves them with very little resources to receive health care. Often, those without adequate coverage or no income will resort to emergency room


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