The election of President-elect Donald Trump on Tuesday answered many questions of what was a two-year campaign for the White House. However, it also raised many questions as well. Almost immediately, journalists as well as citizens were pondering the fate of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare).
As part of what turned out to be an emotional campaign for supporters of both major political parties, Trump had made many promises regarding the fate of the 2010 Affordable Care Act (ACA) in a Trump administration. During the campaign, Trump had called the ACA “a total disaster” and repeatedly promised to repeal it. However, since Tuesday, and especially after a special request from President Barack Obama on Thursday, Trump has decided to give an open, second look to certain aspects of the ACA.
Two pillars of the ACA that appear safe are the ban on insurers denying health care coverage for pre-existing conditions and allowing young people to stay on their parents’ health care coverage longer than before. Speaking about both policies, Trump recently told the Wall Street Journal, “I like those very much.”
Even if the Republican party, which controls both the Senate and the House of Representatives, decides to repeal the law (which would have to be accomplished through an act of Congress and not the presidency, as it is the legislative branch that controls law), those two aspects of the ACA appear to be the most safe. Since 2010, the GOP has made multiple attempts on repealing parts of the ACA. Within Republican alternative health care plans, however, the ban on pre-existing condition denials and the extension of the coverage age for young people remained key staples.
The IRS-levied fine for choosing to remain uninsured may be one of the first aspects of the ACA to be eliminated. The tax was part of a controversial U.S. Supreme Court decision and has since been unpopular with many who were either Trump supporters or who could not afford their least expensive health care option.
Many are also calling for health providers to be able to compete across state lines, thus potentially lowering costs through increased competition. The fate of the ACA will begin to take shape as we learn more about appointments and policy initiatives in upcoming weeks.
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