There are 20,000,000 Americans insured by the Affordable Care Act. So why is the ACA — colloquialized as Obamacare — being prepared for the executioner in the infancy of President Donald Trump’s leadership after Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton worked to get it passed in 2010?
More importantly, if so many Americans are insured by the ACA, why are Republicans threatening the law with no alternative healthcare plan under way?
Before the ACA, federal employees were insured under the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program. The FEHB offers more than 300 privatized health plans that allow members of Congress to pick and personalize their plans at a low cost. Unfortunately for Congress, the good times came to an abrupt end when a provision in Section 1312 of the Affordable Care Act mandated that members of Congress and their staff forgo their plans for the murky labyrinth that is Obamacare. Gotcha, Congress! Congress has been itching to dispose of the ACA’s body in a ditch somewhere along the I-35 ever since.
Members of Congress were only barred from increasing their own salaries in 1992. They were prevented from increasing their pay at the expense of the loyal and begrudging American taxpayer. Yet, under Trump and a Republican majority House, Congress is poised to repeal the ACA, withdrawing healthcare from up to 18 million Americans and costing the loss of three million jobs — all to get their comfortable health smorgasbord back in full swing.
It appears that Congress should not look for a new plan in ultra-conservative Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price, but rather in college campuses. According to the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care, the NYU Student Health Center (SHC) is ranked among the top university health centers in the country. Covering everything from new glasses to Plan-B, NYU’s student health insurance seems more comprehensive and more affordable than any millennial-aimed plan to date. Congress could use a refresher course on the methodology of care over profit.
With the likelihood of the untimely death of Obamacare, Republicans will be forced to draft a new plan for all those who will lose coverage. For the sake of both the nation’s health and the slowing of the economic disparity separating the American rich from the poor, let us hope that the replacement is no worse than the FEHB.
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A version of this article appeared in the Monday, Feb. 13 print edition. Email Kate Holland at [email protected]