Broken arm? Broken collarbone? When Americans think of broken bones, they immediately think of a trip to the hospital. Yet for all the times that the average American goes to the hospital, he or she usually does not pay a significant amount of money for treatment; they are usually covered by insurance. However, not all Americans are under medical coverage, and as result, they often cannot rely on healthcare services, leading them to avoid the hospital.
Such avoidance can lead to drastic health effects, and so President Obama set about fixing this gap in coverage by enacting the Affordable Care Act (ACA), or Obamacare. Former President Barack Obama set about attempting to reform America’s health care system so that more individuals would be able to have medical insurance and be protected from health insurance companies. Obama’s efforts seemed to have paid off as Berkeley’s School of Public Health reported that as a result of the ACA, the number of medically uninsured Americans decreased.
If the amount of uninsured Americans went down, what is the health care crisis that the majority of Americans are so concerned about? The health care crisis refers to the attempts by the newly elected President Trump and Republicans in the Senate and the House of Representatives to repeal and replace the ACA. The attempts by the Trump administration to get rid of the ACA stems from how the ACA penalizes those who do not have health insurance. In addition, although the ACA does have its benefits, not many are keen on letting their taxes dollars used towards low- and moderate-income enrollees, and individuals are further opposed to increasing insurance rates under the ACA, according to CNN. Due to its taxes/penalities and increasing cost, most Republicans under the Trump administration are looking to repeal the ACA in favor of American Health Care Act (AHCA), and these efforts are being spearheaded by Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan.
Although Republican leaders such as McConnell and Ryan try to point out how the AHCA may be beneficial to Americans through tax cuts, they fail to acknowledge that the new health care bill will result in almost 23 million people losing health coverage as reported by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). In order to offset the cost of tax breaks, which many Democrats including Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren argue will only benefit the wealthy and high-income Americans, the AHCA seeks to cut funding for services/programs such as Planned Parenthood and Meals on Wheels, both of which help underserved or low-income populations of women and the elderly, respectively.
Currently, the Republicans have failed to pass the AHCA even though they have control of both the Senate and House of Representatives. As the media and American citizens continue to monitor the progress of health care reform under the Trump administration, only time will tell if this healthcare crisis will come to be resolved or exacerbated.