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Monday, September 16, 2019

Columns

Hot Topic: Scrutinizing the Affordable Care Act


This week’s “Hot Topic” is the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which has recently been brought back into the spotlight.

After three years and more than ten million subscribers, people are starting to learn that the ACA isn’t as revolutionary as some might have thought. Consumers now have little choice regarding who they get their healthcare from.

Are we seeing ACA’s beginning of the end? Is there still hope for those who rely so heavily on universal healthcare?

Opinion columnist Odus Evbagharu:

ACA, better known as Obamacare, did not receive a single Republican vote. Many supporters of the law didn’t expect such reprisal from many unions, medical institutions and businesses.

With the battles the law has had to face from the opposition, including being challenged in the Supreme Court and being upheld in 2012, the ACA has been beneficial for U.S. nationals.

Obama signed the piece of legislation in 2010, hoping it would help millions of uninsured people to gain insurance through a universal healthcare system predominantly run by the government. The numbers have shown the program successful in the U.S.

Statistics show 11.6 million people had already retained or signed up for the program. Numbers continue to fluctuate, but there has been a significant decrease in the number of citizens without insurance.

Before the major coverage requirements of ACA were executed, an estimated 47 million people in the U.S. did not have health insurance. According to Gallup, by the end of the third quarter of 2015, only 11.9 percent of adults aged 18 or older were not covered — down from 12.9 percent.

The number will continue to drop when the program matures: Market prices should settle, and so will the prices of the premiums.  Also, the percentage will decrease even more when the other 20 states decide to expand Medicaid under ACA.

The program is saving lives and giving people a chance to seek medical help without having to pay an arm and a leg for it. Yes, there are some kinks, but ACA is only three years old.

Opinion columnist Jorden Smith:

If there was ever a perfect representation of writing on the wall, Nancy Pelosi’s now-infamous statement, “We have to pass it to find out what’s in it,” would be it. This was pretty spot on in foreshadowing Obamacare’s effect on the U.S.

With an embarrassing launch, lies from the Obama administration and the rise of premiums, Obamacare has been, to put it lightly, a disaster.

Sure, some citizens who previously couldn’t afford health insurance have been able to purchase it thanks to the healthcare exchanges. Along with that, though, many have had their coverage cancelled, can no longer use their insurance due to excessive deductibles or have just decided it’s easier to pay the IRS an unconstitutional tax.

ACA has done exactly the opposite of what it set out to do: make the healthcare system better and more affordable. I’m not here to ostensibly question the intentions of the Democrats who forced this through, but they’ve found out, inevitably, that you can’t regulate the market for lower prices. And the players within the market react poorly.

Whether you like it, money makes the world work. You can’t successfully operate a business while losing money. Take the case of Aetna — it was hemorrhaging capital in the market. It must save itself like any normal business would.

Aetna is not a perfect company, but the government and, subsequently, Democrats have made its life much harder. Democrats such as Elizabeth Warren tried to take the moral high ground and forget that their ideas have caused this problem.

Again, you cannot regulate business to implement your newfound policy without some kind of reaction. Forbes columnist Michael Cannon put together a document showing how Obamacare is actually (unsurprisingly) destroying job growth, effectively showing that Obamacare has pushed businesses to lay off employees, cut back hours or simply not hiring.

In a time when the national economy is in such a poor condition, this is an abysmal policy. If ACA has done anything, it has worsened the quality and raised the costs of healthcare.

Opinion columnists Odus Evbagharu and Jorden smith can be reached at [email protected]

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