Dismantling “Obamacare” is playing with people’s lives

In this Dec. 16, 2016, file photo, President Barack Obama speaks during a news conference in the briefing room of the White House in Washington. Congressional Republicans intent on repealing Obama’s health care law assert that it’s already failed and is in a ‘death spiral.’ But most experts say that despite the law’s widely acknowledged problems, the GOP’s claims are exaggerated and Obamacare is not currently in a ‘death spiral.’ (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

Capitol Hill is currently in chaos. President-elect Donald Trump’s nominees for various cabinet positions are being grilled by members of Congress over their inability to do the jobs they were nominated to do. One still has business deals in Russia, one has a track record for working against groups he’s supposed to be protecting and one has absolutely zero experience at all within the field he was nominated for (looking at you, Ben Carson). Trump is having his own issues, from dealing with the Office of Governmental Ethics to calling out members of the press for writing fake news. In the midst of all of that, Congress has started to pull off the greatest heist known to man, they have started to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Repealing Obamacare, however, is not just party politics, it’s a gamble with other people’s lives.

Obamacare, or the Affordable Care Act, was a cornerstone of President Obama’s first presidential run. The bill was supposed to guarantee healthcare for all Americans. If you had any pre-existing conditions you could still be accepted. Critics were against the bill because it required all people to get insurance whether they wanted it or not. The law, however, allowed for the expansion of Medicare, Medicaid and allowed for all those who could not get insured before, to get insured. It also allowed children to stay on their parents insurance until they were 26. The law was passed on March 30, 2010.

The law faced major setbacks at the beginning. Republicans were dead set against the bill and voted multiple times to repeal Obamacare. Infrastructure was slow to build and when the exchanges were first opened, they crashed frequently. Uninsured rates have dropped to new lows. In fact, since the law has been passed, there have been over 12.7 million people enrolled through the marketplace and over 20 million people across all of the ACA provisions.

So let’s look at the facts. The healthcare exchanges have directly enrolled 12.7 million people and the ACA have given 20 million people insurance. Even Republican voters are admitting how much the ACA has helped them. In one man’s case, the ACA allowed him to get the cancer treatment that he needed in order to get better.

The ACA is saving lives. It is allowing millions of Americans to seek the medical attention they need and deserve. Yet, the GOP is hell-bent on removing the ACA from existence. I will be the first to admit that there are some problems with Obamacare. But the solution is not to totally dismantle the system, not without a plan going forward.

If you listen to House Speaker Paul Ryan, he will tell you to go to his website and look at his healthcare plan. However, this “plan” is actually a document created in 2009 that is very vague and does not give any real solution on how to fix the ACA. It’s almost like the Speaker created the document as a protest to the ACA back in 2009. In the eight years the Republicans have been working to repeal Obamacare, neither the Speaker nor any of Republicans have actually done anything to go about fixing the law.

The law’s name shows why congressional Republicans have an issue with the healthcare law. It has nothing to do with fixing healthcare laws, it more than likely has to do with them working against President Obama. Eight years ago, a group of Republicans held a press conference where they said that their one goal was to make Obama a one-term president. Mr. Ryan’s healthcare alternative is nothing more than some obstruction from those years. There is no plan.

Instead Republicans have played party-politics. They finally have the opportunity to get rid of the Obama legacy. Whether they know it or not, they are also destroying people’s lives. Millions of Americans rely on the ACA to get help for conditions that were never covered before. Dropping the plan would leave millions of Americans without healthcare. Millions of adults and children fighting mental and physical illnesses would be left stranded and the only thing the GOP can offer up is an old plan from 2009.

Instead of playing with politics maybe Republicans should actually do the jobs they were elected to do and serve the people they were elected to serve.     


Amar Batra is a senior staff photographer and opinion’s staff columnist for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email amar.batra@uconn.edu. He tweets at @amar_batra19.