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Debate over repeal of Obamacare rages on

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Since Donald Trump was elected on Nov. 8 — after running on a platform that included repealing the Affordable Care Act (more commonly known as “Obamacare”) — there has been increased resolve to repeal Obamacare among Republican members of the House and Senate.

Town halls around the country have been conducted by Republican politicians; most recently, Congressman Jason Chaffetz’s town hall in Utah received attention after hundreds of his constituents showed up, intent on keeping Obamacare intact.

Debates have continued to ensue over which is the better option: repairing the aspects of Obamacare that don’t work or repealing the plan altogether and replacing it with something new.

What is Obamacare, anyway?

The purpose of Obamacare, which was signed into law in 2010, is to provide more Americans access to affordable health care. Some of the more popular provisions include guaranteeing that those with pre-existing conditions cannot be denied health insurance and expanding Medicaid to all adults in many states. Obamacare also set up insurance exchanges/marketplaces for consumers to choose from and required large employers to insure workers.

In order to provide this coverage, it is required that most Americans have medical insurance or risk paying a fee. This individual mandate has emerged as one of the more controversial aspects of the law.

“Overall, I like Obamacare, but I don’t love that we’re required to have insurance,” English teacher Sara Zimmerman said. “I personally don’t get any benefits from it because it’s about as expensive as it would be for me to get [health care] through the school.”

Where do people stand on repeal and replace?

Republicans have proposed different strategies for repeal and replace. In late January, Republican Senators Bill Cassidy and Susan Collins unveiled a plan that would give more power to the states on health care policy, including the ability to keep Obamacare if they like it.

Many other Republican politicians have pointed to high-risk pools as a potential replacement. Most of the proposed plans have so far kept the pre-existing condition rule, which stopped insurance companies from denying insurance due to diseases such as diabetes. Those proposals, however, have so far offered very little specifics on how coverage for pre-existing conditions could be maintained without the individual mandate.

“I really don’t like Obamacare,” sophomore Keygan Morton said, “so I’m fine with it being repealed.”

Morton’s opinion aligns with that of Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, who proposed a plan that doesn’t include the pre-existing condition rule and switches control of health care from the employer to the worker. Like Cassidy and Collins, he proposed that the responsibility to cover people who can’t afford health care should be given to the states.

“That’s scary,” Zimmerman said. “[The pre-existing conditions rule] was one of the benefits.”

Americans continue to debate the pros and cons of repeal and replace, especially since 18 million people could lose their insurance during the repeal process, according to Congressional budget analysts. The talk of repeal and replace has been especially worrisome for those with chronic health issues.

“I can see the new plan refusing insurance to people with pre-existing conditions from a business standpoint,” sophomore Sebastian Evridge Pope said. “If someone is more likely to be injured or use health care, it drives the rates up. It’s inhumane, but I can see why.”

 

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Debate over repeal of Obamacare rages on