Since President Barack Obama’s initial start to developing a healthcare program in March of 2010, the purpose of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has been to ensure that all Americans have access to healthcare.
This would involve providing subsidized healthcare for individuals who do not qualify for Medicare or Medicaid.
Medicare covers individuals over the age of 65 and certain disabled individuals. Medicaid is a subsidized healthcare plan for low income individuals.
It is important to know that the ACA does not pay for healthcare fully and outright for all Americans. It provides subsidies for individuals depending on income and other personal details.
Under this law, all Americans are required to have healthcare under an Affordable Care Act approved plan by 2016, or receive a tax penalty of $695 or 2.5 percent of the individual’s income, whichever is larger according to Forbes.
Official reports state that one out of six Americans received a plan costing $100 or less through the program and that 87 percent of people who utilized the site received some form of financial aid to cover their program, Forbes reported.
In addition, the number of Americans without health care has dropped since 2010, according to The Washington Post.
The number of individuals with pre-existing conditions who possess healthcare has increased under the law, as they are guaranteed protection under it. There has also been no evidence that the law has harmed jobs in any way.
As the Urban Institute reported, the act “had virtually no adverse effect on labor force participation; employment; the probability of part-time work; and hours worked per week by non-elderly adults.”
Not all of the goals of the affordable care act have been met however, and several side effect have been noted with the program. As of this month, millions of individuals living in the United States still go without health insurance.
In many cases, this is due to the undocumented nature of their residence in the country. However, many of these individuals either cannot afford the health care offered to them in the Healthcare Marketplace, or are unaware that they are legally required to have health care.
Most disturbingly, approximately 3 million individuals fall into the Medicaid Gap. This means that they are considered too high income for Medicaid, yet they cannot afford Obamacare. This is due to several states refusing to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, as the Supreme Court ruled it optional, reported The New York Times
This law has also made a negative impact on big health care. Corporations, now required to cover an unprecedented amount of individuals with pre-existing conditions, have lost reported billions of dollars insuring these at risk individuals.
Having established a knowledge basis on the topic, one can better understand the debate about health care by examining the various views of the 2016 presidential candidates.
According to The New York Times, democratic candidate Hillary Clinton has stated that she fully supports Obamacare and only wishes to “work out the kinks,” by ensuring that women’s reproductive health is covered under the act, lowering the cost of prescription drugs, and make other adjustments.
Republican candidate Donald Trump has expressed a desire to throw out the legislation as a whole and replace it with “something terrific.” This is a major policy change, as 15 years ago he fully supported the concept of Universal Healthcare.
Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders has also expressed a desire to eventually phase out the legislation in favor of a more comprehensive, socialized system that would close the Medicaid gap and fill other coverage holes. Republican candidate Ted Cruz on the other hand, as demonstrated by a 23 hour filibuster on the senate floor, wishes to completely repeal The Affordable Care act.
Editor’s Note: Information from Forbes, The New York Times and The Washington Post was used in this report.