No, the Affordable Care Act should stay in place

Sarah Saeed, Contributing Writer

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is vital to the wellbeing of citizens all over the United States and to the economy. Prior to its implementation, when millions of Americans were uninsured, the general tax-paying population had to absorb the costs of healthcare for those who did not have their own plan. The ACA incentivizes having healthcare by charging a penalty to uninsured people and has greatly increased the number of people protected by healthcare. The ACA also provides protections for 135 million Americans whose plans were previously restricted by healthcare providers due to pre-existing conditions.

 Under the ACA, those with cancer or other chronic illnesses will be able to receive treatment without devastating medical costs. In addition, the ACA mandates that there shall be no lifetime limits on care given to people with coverage, creating a further benefit to encourage citizens to have healthcare. This is a huge incentive for people to buy healthcare as opposed to pre-ACA, where healthcare companies could set limits on the amount of care they would cover for customers, especially if they were high-risk medical patients.

Eliminating the ACA would bring the U.S. back to its condition prior to implementation. Citizens were encouraged to work for big companies because that would be the only way they could receive health insurance. Maintaining, or even expanding, affordable healthcare gives Americans the freedom to choose employment that suits them, diversifying the job market and stimulating the economy.

Increased taxes for higher-income individuals are well worth the benefits of universal healthcare, especially considering the fact that medical care for uninsured people would be taken from taxpayer dollars without the ACA anyway. The U.S. already spends a larger amount of taxes on healthcare than similar nations (such as Canada, which spends $264 billion per year as opposed to the United States’ $3.6 trillion, even though they provide their citizens with universal healthcare), but the ACA has the potential to reduce this if it expands. More citizens being protected under one healthcare system would create a more uniform and straightforward system of healthcare and reduce administrative costs, which make up 8% of the country’s healthcare spending.

If the ACA is repealed as Trump’s administration vows to do, the United States will be set even further back than it already is when comparing the health of its citizens to similarly developed nations such as Britain and Canada. With the new Supreme Court appointment, the constitutionality of the ACA has come into question once again. However, under Article I Section 8 of the Constitution (the Commerce Clause), I believe that the U.S. federal government has the power to indirectly require citizens to buy healthcare. By taxing those who do not have healthcare plans, the ACA ensures that a majority of Americans are protected without overreaching the power of the federal government. It provides greater security for citizens while still allowing them to choose their health insurance provider. Maintaining the ACA is essential to the progress of the American economy and the health of its citizens. We must elect leaders who promise to expand and support universal healthcare- otherwise, we will be taking several steps backward.

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