By Lara Schuman ‘18
The repeal of the Affordable Care Act was one of Donald Trump’s popular campaign selling points. Many who benefitted from the Affordable Care Act were in favor of the “repeal and replace” plan on the promise that it would be better and cheaper.
Thinking it would be an easy feat, Trump decided to tackle health care reform as one of his first endeavors. He agreed to let Paul Ryan, the speaker of the House of Representatives, take charge of creating the bill. The House passed the American Health Care Act, the first form of the “repeal and replace” plan.
This bill was an attempt at compromise within the Republican party on health care reform. According to Tami Luhby of CNN on May 4, 2017, the bill would make tax credits based on age rather than income.
According to the Congressional Budget Office, this will cause older people’s health insurance rates rise. It will also eliminate the pre-existing conditions clause of the Affordable Care Act, which will cause many people who need medical assistance to lose their health care, because they won’t be able to afford it.
Vann R. Newkirk II said the bill will also reduce federal support of Medicaid and make the states choose whether they will be granted with money for Medicaid, which can leave lower income citizens uninsured.
“McConnell juggling diverse demands on Republican health bill,” by The Associated Press of ABC News on May 29, 2017 said, “It concluded the measure would create 23 million additional uninsured Americans by 2026.”
It has been almost a month since the House of Representatives passed the bill and there has been little to no news on it since. It will most likely not make it to, or past the Senate. The bill is widely unpopular amongst the citizens because their insurance rates will increase or they will lose it all together. Many congresspeople will not vote for it, simply because they want to get re-elected. They will do what the people of their states want so they will get their vote in the next election.
Reforming this country’s health care was one of Trump’s goals from the beginning. With a mix of Democrats, moderate Republicans, and conservative Republicans in Congress, it has proven to be difficult to negotiate a plan that all can agree on. Conservative Republicans want to remove Medicaid expansion while the moderates want to keep it. Trump has failed to exert the leadership skills necessary to get the parties compromise on the act.
The American Health Care Act (AHCA) was the first form of the “repeal and replace” plan to pass through the House, however it is not the solution to this country’s health care problem. The parties should look into other options for healthcare, such as the single payer system.
The single payer healthcare system would give healthcare to every citizen regardless of their economic status or job situation. Single payer healthcare is already established in Canada and many European countries. This system would encourage preventative care by allowing patients to get proper health care without agonizing over the cost. It would allow people to get regular check ups, to ensure they are healthy. It could allow them to detect the early signs of costly diseases, such as diabetes and heart disease, so they can be treated before as early as possible.
Single payer healthcare system allows citizens to choose their physician, allowing the people to get to know their physician. Citizens would not be restricted by insurance companies in choosing their physician. If citizens create a connection with their physicians it may make it easier for the patients to confide in their doctors about health matters; therefore encouraging preventive care.
So if the single payer healthcare system is so beneficial, why don’t we have it? Many Americans believe every person should fend for themselves. They do not want to be paying higher taxes to pay for everyone else to have healthcare when they do not need it, regardless of the fact that they are already paying the highest healthcare taxes in the world. Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar of PBS News on July 13, 2016 reported, Americans are paying over $10,000 per person per year for health care, more than twice the amount other nations are paying for single payer healthcare.
According to Physicians For A National Health Program, “We pay for national health insurance, but we don’t get it.” In other words we pay more to get less.
The Physicians For A National Health Program also stated, “Medical bills contribute to half of all personal bankruptcies. Three-fourths of those bankrupted had health insurance at the time they got sick or injured.”
We are headed in the single payer direction, however, it is going to take some convincing of the American people to achieve universal health care.