Repealing Obamacare Destabilizes Universal Healthcare Efforts

Venkata Kondubhatla

Washington: As President-Elect Donald Trump is getting ready to take office, the process of repealing Obamacare is already underway. Even as the Republicans lack a unanimous alternative plan for replacement, the recalling of major portions of Obamacare, which they vehemently opposed throughout, took the front seat.

The battle between Republicans and Democrats over Obamacare has been fought since the birth of the program. Now, with the US Senate approval to begin the process of repealing Obamacare and Democrats uniting against the process, the conflict only intensified.

The Republicans have opposed the legislation consistently and repealing Obamacare was their election promise. Trump has repeatedly called Obamacare a disaster, so much for insuring at least 20-million uninsured along through the program, not to say about the other provisions the program has provided. However, rising premiums, withdrawal of insurance companies from the program and inefficiency has caused tumult among people and affected the election results against the Democrats.

With premiums going up just before the elections, a substantial number of voters have voted against Obamacare and Trump snagged the opportunity to intensify his rhetoric against Obamacare. During the transition, Trump has nominated Tom Price as his health secretary. Price is a staunch critic of Obamacare. He criticized the program for its failure to reduce the premiums, and for taking away the power from people to decide on their own health plans.

Price has worked for an alternative plan and he has formulated one to fix Obamacare. He wants to repeal Obamacare and replace it with a system that works for the patients. His boss Donald Trump may have something else in his mind. Only Trump knows. However, he has recently announced that his team would replace Obamacare with a system that provides access to healthcare to all the Americans. He hasn’t provided any details of his replacement plan. Nor his nominee for health secretary did.

Price faced tough questions to this effect on Wednesday at his confirmation hearing in the Senate. His nomination has become a critical step over the fate of Obamacare. As he faced questions from the Senators about his investments in pharmaceutical companies and about his healthcare policy and agenda, he sat patiently defending the case for his nomination.

Bernie Sanders, senator from Vermont, fired his questions as follows:

Sanders: Do you (Tom Price) think healthcare is a right for all Americans? Do all people need to have healthcare because they are Americans?

Price: As a compassionate country…

Sanders: we are not a compassionate country… there are other countries more compassionate than us in the world… but my question is whether you think it should be a right to have healthcare just like in Canada and other countries?

Price: I want to make sure that everyone has access to healthcare…

Sanders: “Access to” doesn’t mean right. I have access to buy a 10 million dollar house, but I cannot…

Price has defended repealing Obamacare as he has done with his so-far vapid replacement plan. He maintained that repealing and replacing Obamacare would happen almost at the same time. The problem is replacement is practically not a viable thing in the present situation. Democrats won’t let that happen and even if they did allow, it would be extremely difficult to come up with a plan that fixes the problems Obamacare face in the first place.

Doing away with Obamacare will not only throw away at least 18 million people out of their insurance coverage, it also exacerbates the problem of healthcare in the country. Obamacare, with its complex and cumbrous system, has somehow managed to provide insurance to millions of uninsured. The program advocates argue that as more people enroll the premiums would go down. But at present the premium is a real problem to the enrolled that are young and healthy. The program is also consuming a lot of federal budget for all its subsidies to the poor.

Obamacare has pushed the insurance companies to do more for the patients for their coverage, and repealing it would bring relief to these companies. Tom Price says that if his nomination confirms, he will bring back the power of making decisions from Washington, D.C. to the patients. What Americans don’t want is the power ending up in the hands of insurance companies, as prior to Obamacare.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.