Never in my life did I ever think I would hear the following words: “The president’s support for killing Obamacare during the coronavirus pandemic shows a callous disregard for communities in crisis” (Jonathan Metzl, 2020). To catch up, the Affordable Health Care Act has been around for about a decade under President Obama’s decision to make it mandatory for Americans to all have health insurance. Though half of uninsured Americans denied themselves of potential coverage, the other half embraced it! It was a breath of fresh air to many who were without affordable health insurance.
But things change, and politics rule.
Now, in the midst of crisis and a pandemic we cannot seem to stop, President Trump has decided to call Obamacare a “disaster,” and said he wished to “terminate it.” This is not completely in context. Many Americans were (and still are) upset about being forced to pay a fine given they did not have the right coverage (Kaiser, 2020). It is a dual-edged sword: Americans did not embrace the ACA, but now that we need it the most it makes the most sense to use it. You would think this would lead to better health coverage, but that is not the case. Obamacare enrollment skyrocketed since Trump became President. But Trump has decided that now, of all times, is a good place to end the system.
Backing up to May 2020, Trump began the process of getting rid of the necessity of Obamacare, but in a time when Americans can barely afford the premiums, it seems as if the Affordable Healthcare Act is, as of now, quite useless. But the time and place to cancel this ethereal part of our history, in my opinion, is where the “wrong” begins. Aside from personal opinions and political orientations, let us examine this factually.
First, some statistics. 33 percent of White Americans (as of 2010) were without proper health coverage; 33 percent of Hispanics; and 20 percent for Black Americans. This accounts for a tremendous 46.5 million people who currently do not have the proper health coverage. This is ironically 18 percent of the nonelderly population.
Then, the ACA began.
By 2016, 90 percent of Black Americans had health care, as one example, and many people claimed to have paid much less for prescriptions, to have less medical debt, and in turn, more security when something goes wrong. However, despite this progress, the Trump administration has spent three long years trying to eliminate it. Speculations are amidst. Many claim that it is a way of ridding us of the Obama era; others feel it is simply Trump’s way of cutting funds to a crucial problem.
However, despite political boundaries, the main issue is not “why” we are cutting it. Rather, it is a question of: “what happens when it is cut?” The main issue seemed to be the cutting of advertising the program. Since Trump’s induction, there has been a 79 percent drop in community outreach, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. In other words, though the ACA still exists, and most likely will continue to exist (one can only amend so much), the fact is many Americans have forgotten – especially in the midst of a pandemic – that Obamacare is an option. So, what happened last week?
The Trump administration “urged the Supreme Court to overturn the Affordable Care Act.” Ironically, it was the same day that half a million Americans lost health insurance due to the economic shutdown, of which was meant to slow the COVID-19 spread. 20 million Americans can and have lost their health coverage, and according to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi: “If President Trump gets his way, 130 million Americans with pre-existing conditions will lose the ACA’s lifesaving protections and 23 million Americans will lose their health coverage entirely.”
Sound bad? Well, it really is.
When this case approached the Supreme Court, many conservative-led states did make their point that the ACA was “unconstitutional,” where fines are issued for not having proper health insurance. What many do not realize is, that was not meant to harm the American public. Rather, it was a way to incentivize the notion that without health insurance, one is subjected to potentially thousands of dollars during a routine visit. In turn, it was not meant to “punish” us, but rather to motivate us!
With due respect, Trump is not the monster they are making him out to be. However, he certainly is not making the health insurance game any easier. With so many Americans affected by the coronavirus, the loss of millions of jobs, and God knows what else, it seems the last thing we should be doing is cutting down on affordable care. Despite this, Trump has made sure we all know that those with preexisting conditions (i.e. an illness or a health issue that was made prior to the actual insurance policy) will still be protected, but how? That is the question many are currently asking, as though it was announced that Obamacare would be seeing changes, no mention of how to redeem its loss have come into earshot, leaving many stressed and without help.
Now, the good news is since the loss of millions of jobs, around 487,000 people have been wise enough to sign up with HealthCare.gov, after the loss of workplace overage. It is a drastic increase of 46 percent since last year, and all we can do at this point is hope that an appeal is missed, or an executive order is ignored. Otherwise, the realm of health insurance will never quite be the same – if we allow it, that is. We can only hope…