President-elect Donald trump has already shown that repealing and replacing Obamacare was not just an empty campaign promise, he actually plans on going through with it. The decision to bring on Tom Price as the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services was the first sign that president-elect Trump really means business. Price has been a long term critic of Obamacare, and is one of few people from the Republican side to truly produce a plan to replace the Affordable Care Act.
Republicans and Democrats alike agree that Obamacare needs some alteration. Even Hillary Clinton in her campaign talked about altering some of the fundamental problems with the legislation. However with Trump who was a staunch opponent of the act throughout his campaign, and with a Republican majority in the house and the senate, the fate of the legislation looks bleak at best. This article will discuss whether the American population will or will not be better off without Obamacare.
The case made against the Affordable Care Act is that it increases health care costs, even though the intended effect was the opposite. In a Wall Street Journal article by Janet Adamy, CMS suggested that healthcare spending will increase more than before Obamacare was passed. The findings of the report had the following comments:
“Overall national health spending would increase an average of 6.1% a year over the next decade. The center’s economists recalculated the numbers in light of the health bill and now project that the increase will average 6.3% a year, according to a report in the journal Health Affairs.”
In the same article it is suggested that Obamacare causes insurance premiums to rise. Health insurers will need to increase premiums from 1% to 9% because of the Affordable Care Act. Whereas for families it is an increase of around $2100 on average.
Another big accusation that was laid down by Republicans was that Obamacare hurts the quality of healthcare itself. They claim the shortage of doctors has worsened because of it. All of this will lead to longer wait times for patients and less access to healthcare for the average person in the long run.
“Experts warn there won’t be enough doctors to treat the millions of people newly insured under the law. At current graduation and training rates, the nation could face a shortage of as many as 150,000 doctors in the next 15 years, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges….The greatest demand will be for primary-care physicians. … A shortage of primary-care and other physicians could mean more-limited access to health care and longer wait times for patients.” (Suzanne Sataline & Shirley Wang, “Medical Schools Can’t Keep Up,” The Wall Street Journal, 4/12/10).
For nearly 7 years, most Republicans have wanted to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. However, no one had a replacement plan that was viable enough to implement once Obamacare was terminated. This problem is sorted by Tom Price who has authored a 200+ page replacement program. Many say this is a better answer to the current problems facing the US healthcare system.
Price seeks to deregulate the medical industry, while capping tax deductions for work-based insurance coverage at $8,000 for individuals. This money combined with the savings from mandatory subsides under the Affordable Care Act would be used to extent tax credits to Americans.
The entire plan works on the principle that people would want coverage. Unlike Obamacare the plan is not to force people to get coverage, but by making “free” tax credits so attractive combined with loans that are relatively cheaper. This would attract the young and healthy, which in turn would lead to a more sustainable risk pool of insurers.
There are attractive aspects of Price’s plan, however there are problems as well. Many critics say that it will in fact cover less people than Obamacare, and there could be blowback from 24 million people who have been insured since Obamacare. One study found that repealing the Affordable Care Act could increase average out-of-pocket costs in the marketplace by as much as $1500 in just one year; there could be millions added to the federal budget as well.
Democratic leader Chuck Schumer referred to Republicans as the “the dog who caught the bus,” suggesting that they don’t have any semblance of a plan to follow Obamacare. This could be untrue, because Tom Price’s plan does seem to have some merit to it. It certainly needs some tweaking, but it just may be the solution that American’s are looking for.