There’s room for improvement in the Affordable Care Act. Congress should improve it, not repeal it.
President-elect Donald Trump and his nominee for U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services have doubled down on Republican promises to scuttle the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
Also known as Obamacare, the ACA is neither perfect nor as flawed as the many Republican leaders believe. Much more can be done to make health insurance affordable and accessible to all Americans. But getting rid of Obamacare would be a step backward.
The Affordable Care Act has helped millions of Americans get health care, thanks in a large part to the expansion of Medicaid.
U.S. Sen. Patty Murray has promised to carefully evaluate Trump’s nomination of U.S. Rep. Tom Price, R-Georgia, to chief of Health and Human Services and stand up for the millions of Americans who have benefitted from Obamacare. She should be commended for taking the lead.
By last February after the last open enrollment closed, the number of uninsured Washingtonians had been cut in half by the provisions of the Affordable Care Act. Other states are reporting similar successes and people have been signing up in record numbers this fall. The work isn’t finished, but clearly much headway has been made.
The people who have insurance now are not going to want to give it up, nor should they have to.
Congress has already wasted too much time trying to kill the program. Congressional Republicans were talking this week about a quick vote to repeal the law before coming up with a replacement. This is a mistake. Congress instead should have been using the past four years to improve the Affordable Care Act.
A 2015 report from The Century Foundation, a progressive nonpartisan think tank based in New York, had some good suggestions that deserve another look.
The tax-credit section of the law should be changed to make insurance more affordable for middle-class families, who are finding their choices on the exchange are still not affordable.
Some families say it’s much cheaper to pay the federal penalty than buy insurance. So they continue to take a chance on not needing health care. American families should not have to make that choice.
The states that have not accepted the Medicaid expansion should be given a bigger incentive to do so, and the federal government should make its financial support of this program permanent. The working poor in many states have health insurance for the first time in many years, thanks to Obamacare. Your ZIP code should not decide whether you can get health insurance or not.
Other reasons the Affordable Care Act should be retained include the popular provision allowing young people to stay on their parent’s insurance through age 26, and the rules prohibiting insurance companies to deny coverage for pre-existing conditions.
President-elect Trump and Congress should not try to pick out the parts of Obamacare they don’t like without considering the impact those changes would have on the success of the act.
There’s room for improvement that could work well both for the citizens and the government.