Health Care Fight Intensifies as Trump Takes Office


As the countdown continues to Donald Trump’s impending actions as President, the newly inaugurated Congress has already begun working to repeal President Obama’s signature legislation: The Affordable Care Act. The Affordable Care Act, often called “Obamacare” by GOP representatives, revolutionized health care in America and has insured an additional 20 million Americans. Obamacare has been controversial from its inception for many reasons, including its high cost, various objections about the constitutionality of provisions like the “Individual Mandate,” and its passage by a fully Democrat-majority Congress. Obamacare, challenged by the Supreme Court, was upheld after a 5-4 vote. Since 2010, when it was signed into law by Obama, many Republicans have made the full repeal of Obamacare a signature aspect of their campaigns. President-elect Donald Trump, Vice President-elect Mike Pence, and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan have long promised a full repeal of the law and, with control of both houses of Congress and the White House (beginning January 20), the GOP is finally in position to execute their repeal. With an Obamacare repeal all but guaranteed, what legislation will replace Obamacare has emerged as the crucial debate.

Democrats including Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, Vermont Senator and former Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders, and outgoing President Barack Obama have demanded that Republicans announce an alternative plan before executing a repeal that would take away healthcare from 20 million Americans. Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, an advocate for an expansion of Obamacare, declared this week that the replacement plan for Obamacare will be announced in the coming days. What will the plan will look like remains very unclear as the GOP have yet to hint at any changes or alterations that could be announced.

It was clear in November that Trump’s victory would be a massive hit to Obama’s legacy particularly if his health care legislation was repealed. Now with Republicans still adamant about the ACA’s repeal, Obama’s legacy may be dealt a massive blow within hours of the culmination of his presidency.

The American people face a cloud of uncertainty regarding healthcare under Trump’s administration. While Trump has recently stated that he will sign the Affordable Care Act’s Senator Susan Collins’ recent introduction of a replacement plan, The Patient Freedom Act of 2017, would require that everyone buys health insurance and proposes taking federal money that pays for tax subsidies and the expansion of Medicaid covered by the Affordable Care Act and channeling these funds to the states. Other Republican congressmen have urged for immediate repeal of the Affordable Care Act without a replacement; however, this alternative has been described as deeply flawed by Republicans and Democrats alike as it would leave Americans without affordable health insurance.

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