Image Credits: J. Scott Applewhite/Associated Press)

One of the biggest issues both conservatives and liberals have been keeping an eye on during the transition of power from President Obama to President Trump is The Affordable Care Act. Last month, Senate Republicans took their first step toward repealing The Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

Since the vote, which ended up being in favor of Senate Republicans, liberals such as Bernie Sanders have been outraged. Democrats have organized rallies in opposition to the possible Obamacare repeal. The ACA was signed into law by President Barack Obama back in 2010. According to Obama’s White House website, it was created because “everyone should have access to quality, affordable health care, and no one should ever go broke just because they get sick.” With premiums rising and the national debt increasing, it is hard to imagine why the health care law would be deemed as “affordable.”

It seems as though many people, especially Democrats, need a little reminder as to why the Affordable Care Act is not working for Americans. In fact, the ACA should be repealed and replaced as soon as possible. Here are five of the biggest reasons why the Affordable Care Act was not really affordable at all.

1)  It severely restricts consumer choice

Under Obamacare, states like Alabama, Alaska, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Wyoming have only one option for health insurance. This is quite contrary to the Obama administration’s “choice and competition” rhetoric. In 2016, 225 counties in America experienced the effects these restrictions. In 2017, the number of counties went up to 650 according to a recent study from the Kaiser Family Foundation. The unnatural monopoly Obamacare creates in the healthcare system is detrimental to every American’s income and health. This is exactly the opposite of ACA’s goal. It is the liberal progressives’ desire to ultimately create a single-payer system in which centralized government is the payer.

2) It crushes our national debt

The national debt has been a big issue in the United States in recent years. Obamacare, unsurprisingly, is a culprit in this economic mess. According to Forbes, if we continue on the path we are on, the United States’ debt could increase $13 trillion by 2025. One of the biggest contributing factors to this rise is, you guessed it, the introduction of Obamacare. With a current national debt of $19 trillion, this would mean the United States would have a $33 trillion debt. This is something we cannot afford.

3) Premiums have gone through the roof

In October of 2016, former President Barack Obama announced that premiums, the monthly payment an individual makes to his or her insurance company, would increase over the next year. ACA resulted in an average of 25 percent premium hikes for Americans in the 39 states served by the insurance program. Some saw their premiums rise by almost 59 percent in Minnesota, 63 percent in Tennessee, 69 percent in Oklahoma, and 116 percent in Arizona under the Affordable Care Act. People across the country are noticing the harsh changes in the cost of their healthcare bills. They’re not happy about it. “This is not affordable at all. This is the unaffordable care act,” says Casey Heaps, whose health care policy was recently dropped due to Obamacare. Sounds very “affordable,” right?

4) Deductibles have also increased

This year, Obamacare’s health care plans will have deductibles. This is the price individuals must pay out-of-pocket before insurance covers the remaining costs. These deductibles will increase for many hardworking, American families. Under Obamacare’s Bronze Plan, some families will see their deductibles increase by 21 percent. Under the Silver Plan, they will increase by 17 percent on average nationwide. When testifying before the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, Representative Tom Price (R-GA), who is now Secretary of Health and Human Services, said, “I get calls almost weekly from my former fellow physicians who tell me that their patients are making decisions about not getting the care that they need because they can’t afford the deductible.”

5) There are penalties for not being insured

Under the Affordable Care Act, someone who can afford to buy health insurance but chooses not to must pay an “individual shared responsibility payment” according to HealthCare.gov. This fee means that an individual will have to pay for a service that he or she may not want or need. If one does not pay this fee, the IRS will hold back the money in following tax returns for the amount left unpaid. This mandate would force healthy Americans who choose not to be insured under a health care plan to purchase an unnecessary service. By not paying these payment, they must pay a high fee for not doing so.

Republicans have been arguing against the Affordable Care Act for the past seven years. It is just now looking as though its repeal and replace will become a reality. With Republicans controlling the House, the Senate and now the Oval Office, it is only a matter of time before the Affordable Care Act is a thing of the past.

Cecilia G.
FFL CONTRIBUTOR
Cecilia is a junior in high school, tackling the college world as a dual-enrollment student. When she's not dreaming about the day she twirls her baton on the Orange and Blue lined field at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, she can be found snuggling her chihuahua, Bruiser (yes, just like Elle Woods).

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