The Affordable Care Act [ACA], also known by its street name, Obamacare. Those names have been a constant topic in our news basically since President Obama was inaugurated.
But does the average person [or Scranton student for that matter] actually know what the law does? Everyone knows that it exists, that most people either support it or despise it and that it was an extremely hot topic during this past presidential election.
However, it has been my experience that the vast majority of people, both college students and working adults, know little more about it than what I have just listed. Currently, it has been evident that many of these individuals feel strongly about the ACA, despite knowing almost nothing about it.
From day one, the Republican Party has been opposed to the ACA. Since 2010 they have denounced the law, vowing to repeal it, dismantle it, destroy it, etc.
The termination and replacement of the ACA was a tremendous campaign promise during the 2016 presidential race. We are currently about a month into an administration that is completely Republican controlled, and yet, the ACA remains untouched.
Ironically, many individuals who had opposed the ACA have fallen silent now that there is a realistic possibility of its repeal. In a Feb. 19th article, New York Times journalist Jonathan Martin concisely explained that “it was easy for conservatives to rally against a law identified with a president they despised when he was capable of vetoing any repeal.”
The fact of the matter is that a significant portion of Republican voters have benefited from the ACA, and are now genuinely afraid that they are going to lose their health insurance following a repeal.
Within the Republicans, the debate over amending the ACA or dismantling it altogether is ongoing, and Americans have yet to be provided with any proposed course of action.
Understandably, conservatives and liberals alike are becoming increasingly anxious and doubtful that the Republican majority is capable of providing Americans with a new and adequate plan for affordable health care coverage.
On principle, Republicans dislike government involvement in the private lives of citizens; however, several tenets of the ACA are so beneficial that even some of the most conservative conservatives admit that government regulations on healthcare might be a good idea.
Healthcare.gov lists “essential health benefits,” which are services Marketplace insurance plans are mandated to cover.
Prior to the ACA, many of these services were not covered by certain plans, meaning people were either forced to pay out-of-pocket or completely forego treatment.
The average individual, especially the young adult, will not think about healthcare until he or she is in a position that they require it. The average individual does not plan on having a stroke, developing diabetes or cancer, becoming addicted to prescription pills, acquiring a spinal cord injury, having a child with a complicated medical diagnosis, experiencing major depressive disorder or requiring expensive medication to manage a chronic condition.
But life happens, and this includes illness, injury and inconvenience. Suddenly the average individual finds him/herself in need of services they otherwise would not have known existed.
This is precisely what has happened to many of the previously outspoken opponents of the ACA. Now that they are aware of their need for services, they are righteously concerned about how they will afford these services if the ACA were to be repealed.
Therefore, it is my humble request to all those who are opposed to, indifferent on, or unsure about the ACA to give it sincere and informed consideration.
From a healthcare perspective, it has helped significantly more people than it has hurt, and it is likely that many individuals in your life have benefited whether you realized it or not.
Hypothetically, this could be people like your mother who is a breast cancer survivor, your cousin who sustained a spinal cord injury at 16, your uncle who has high blood pressure and diabetes, your friend’s brother who is battling a heroin addiction, your sister who has celiac disease, your neighbor who is HIV positive or your nephew who was born 12 weeks premature.
It is exceedingly rare that major legislation is perfect on the first attempt. The fact that the U.S. Constitution has had 27 amendments and that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was not ratified until almost a century after the abolishment of slavery should be evidence enough.
Everyone is entitled to their thoughts and opinions, and I cannot, nor would I want to change that. But I do hope that I can perhaps prompt some individuals to seriously consider the ramifications of a complete repeal of the ACA.
Contact the writer: Jesicca.firstname.lastname@example.org