America’s healthcare system has a long and chequered history. Currently healthcare is provided by many separate organisations. People aged under 67 are insured via their own or their family’s employer, or through privately purchased health insurance.
US health care spending is the highest in the world. In 2013 the US government paid for 64% of health expenditure via programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, and the Veterans Health Administration, which cover medical care for the elderly and the financially disadvantaged.
Around 15% of the population lack health insurance cover and are not covered by the above programs.
In 2010 the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, colloquially known as ‘Obamacare’, was introduced to improve access to care and curb spending through regulations and taxes.
What Was the Main Focus of Obamacare?
The main focus of the healthcare reform law was to provide more Americans with access to affordable health insurance, regulate the health insurance industry, and reduce medical care spending.
It aimed to do this by:
- Allowing states to expand insurance coverage under Medicaid.
- Create a marketplace for affordable private insurance plans for working people who were not covered for health care by their employers.
- Banning insurance companies from denying health cover to people with pre-existing conditions.
- Allowing children to stay on their parent’s plan until age 26.
- Banning insurance companies from charging women more than men for health care coverage among other regulations.
It was the largest overhaul of the healthcare system since 1960.
Why All the Objection from Donald Trump and Supporters?
During his election campaign Donald Trump claimed that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) health reform hurt the economy and provided vague plans to repeal and replace Obamacare.
Republicans claimed the law imposed too many costs on businesses and that it was an intrusion into affairs of private businesses and individuals.
Trump voters enrolled in Obamacare expressed frustration that plans cost too much, that premiums and deductibles were out of control, and that too much was being done to help those who didn’t deserve it.
Many simply didn’t believe Trump’s assertions that he would repeal something which was benefiting them.
Donald Trump’s Attempts to Repeal Obamacare
In January 2017, within hours of taking the oath of office, President Trump reaffirmed his commitment to dismantle Obamacare by issuing an executive order to the Health and Human Services secretary to start rolling it back, however the majority of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is controlled by laws and regulations which a President does not have the power to nullify and which cannot be repealed with an executive order.
More recently plans to repeal the Act have been abandoned due to party infighting and lack of votes. Some Members of Congress were not prepared to vote on replacement legislation because of the potential for Medicaid being rolled back, which could result in millions of Americans losing health care coverage.
Republicans have pledged to deliver on the promise of repealing Obamacare but may keep some of the Act’s more popular medical care benefits.
Trump himself has stated he believes Obamacare will fail, his strategy is to allow Obamacare to “explode”, but polls show the health care law is now more popular than ever before and the majority of people believe that Trump’s administration should do what they can to make ACA work.
One thing is certain, Trump’s continued battle with Obamacare is providing ongoing confusion for Americans. Now more than ever, Australia is looking like an attractive option for health care professionals and families especially with its respected health care system.