The Future of Healthcare in the Trump Era
Many people are concerned about what the new administration will do with our healthcare system. President-elect Donald Trump has promised to “repeal and replace” Obamacare, but even Trump himself realizes it’s easier to repeal and not so easy to replace.
Americans are navigating the fact that no one can predict exactly what Trump will do with the Affordable Care Act, (commonly known as Obamacare) when he officially takes office. Whether you’re for it or against it, uncertainty isn’t a great feeling.
Obamacare has been a contentious topic from the outset, and a Gallup poll conducted after the election confirms that more Americans disapprove than approve the ACA – 53% oppose the law and 42% approve of it.
The vast majority of Americans want to see the law changed, including 37% who want it repealed and replaced, and 43% who want to keep the law but with major changes, according to Gallup.
President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act on March 23, 2010, enacting comprehensive health care and insurance reforms. On June 28, 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the ACA.
The Basics of Obamacare:
Some of the provisions Obamacare supporters value include:
- Extending health insurance to dependent children up to age 26
- Coverage of people with pre-existing medical conditions
- Coverage of preventative services
- Closing Medicare’s “doughnut hole” for Medicare Part D which covers prescription drugs for older Americans
- Providing subsidies that lower the cost of insurance
What people (45%) don’t like about Obamacare:
- Deductibles for the least expensive plan are close to an outrageous $7,000 for an individual, an amount poor people certainly can’t afford.
- Many hospitals and doctors don’t accept Obamacare due to their low reimbursement rate
- If you can’t afford the deductible and the doctor won’t accept your coverage, what’s the point?
- Mandated health insurance is not free healthcare
- Penalties imposed by the government for not having health insurance
What does Trumpcare do?
- Repeals Obamacare in a step-by-step process
- Eliminates the tax penalty for not having health coverage
- Provides transparency among doctors and hospitals about pricing so individuals can shop for the best prices for exams or any other medical-related procedure
- Keeps Medicare running but reforms Medicaid
- Allows drug providers to enter free markets without the current barriers because drug companies are providing a public service
- Promotes healthcare innovation by improving health informatics, among other things
Republicans have said that passing a replacement bill could take up to two years. If Obamacare is repealed, up to 20 million American could lose coverage.
Trump has said he wants to keep the provisions that cover pre-existing medical conditions and adult dependents up to 26 years old.
According to an article by CNN last week, despite Trump’s and Republican parties stated intentions of pulling the plug on Obamacare, it’s unlikely to happen given the probable filibuster by Senate Democrats.
A professor at Columbia University said he thinks Obamacare will undergo big changes with Republicans repealing portions of the law through the budget reconciliation process, which cannot be filibustered.
What Trumpcare means for 2017 health insurance plans
Should you still enroll for Obamacare in 2017? Yes. The open enrollment deadline is January 31. You aren’t locked into a plan if the government changes it after the first of the year, but you will still face a tax penalty if you don’t enroll.
Subsidies are still available for people who meet the criteria with most people paying about $100 a month, according to HealthMarkets insurance agency.
Replacing a health care system takes time and work. It’s also very expensive. The Commonwealth Fund estimated that it could increase the Federal budget deficit by between $330 billion to $550 billion over 10 years.