by Kwok-Wai Hanson
Salutations, President Trump! I am Kwok-Wai Hanson, currently studying Computer Science and Communications at the University of California, Davis. Obviously, I have no real authority over healthcare but coming from a background of computers, web development, and social media, I have learned that it is always easier to build or improve upon other individual’s ideas or creations rather than to destroy them completely.
Since day one of your campaign, it was evident that you and your administration plan to dismantle and completely replace Obamacare. While it is a bold and popular idea amongst your supporters and constituents, I find it counterproductive and less effective to start completely over. In the last eight years since Obamacare was first proposed, Republicans in Congress have continuously desired to replace Obamacare with something better, but nothing concrete has been presented to the table. I find it difficult to believe Republicans will have a plan you and the American people are comfortable with. Even though Fox News reported “there are seven Republican proposals ready to go to replace the ACA,” nothing descriptive has been released. When the ACA was going through Congress, it took a very long time because the bill had “20,000 pages of regulations,” as disclosed by Senator Mitch McConnell. Obama has already done the hard work by bringing the cement and building materials. He has already begun building and reforming healthcare. The ACA is not perfect, as you have criticized it numerous times throughout your campaign. However, the foundation is already set. Why not expand it and make changes accordingly?
As stated back in November after you won the election, the BBC reported how you plan to keep the ban on insurers from denying coverage due to pre-existing conditions and allowing young adults to be insured on their parents’ policies. You commented to the Wall Street Journal, “I like those very much.” These two major pillars of Obamacare you like and plan to keep are already part of the bill that passed. By repealing Obamacare, you run the chance and risk of not having these two policies in your new Healthcare bill. I’m sure you have witnessed how senators and congressmen have added and removed provisions to any bill that goes through Congress.
By completely replacing Obamacare, the Congressional Budget Office has already concluded that the number of uninsured individuals will increase to 18 million and potentially 32 million by 2026. The Washington Post also highlights a study how potentially 36,000 people could die if the Affordable Care Act is repealed. Though these are only predictions; it shows the extremely dangerous consequences. In addition, there are no guarantees the healthcare you and the Republicans wish to pass will go through. With only 52 Republicans, there is a very small margin for a guaranteed bill to pass the Senate. Only 3 Republican Senators need to disagree with your proposed healthcare solution before it fails. You commented that the repeal of Obamacare may occur in 2018. I hope you remember that 2018 is also an election year. All 435 congressional and 33 senate seats are up for grabs. Although it could go in your favor since 25 of the 33 Seats are currently held by Democrats. It is possible to obtain a filibuster-proof majority after 2018, but is it worth the risk to wait two years when you already hold the majority? Anything can happen in 2018 just like it did in 2016 when you won the election despite polls showing otherwise. Nonetheless, in the current situation, a scenario where Obamacare is repealed but no replacement could be disastrous. It is almost similar to pick-axing the foundation and partial wall Obama has built for you with regards to healthcare, only to realize it’s too late once everything is shattered to pieces.
Lastly, you and Republicans have indicated that healthcare is very expensive. Healthcare premiums and deductibles are at a high, but identifying the problem could be extremely tricky. As commented by The New York Times, pinpointing the exact problem can be troublesome. American healthcare is expensive because the United States pays a hefty price for doctors, hospitals, drugs, and medical devices. As highlighted by the Congressional hearing over skyrocketing EpiPen costs to $600, there are many reasons for increased costs.
It is obvious that many Americans are now insured under Obamacare. By completely repealing and replacing the plan, it could have devastating impacts as reported by the Congressional Budget Office’s studies and reports. All in all, Obama has already done all the building. Now it is up to you, your administration, and Congress to make adjustments and engineer an even better healthcare system in the United States. It’s easier than building the wall you desire between the United States and Mexico. By repealing Obamacare, the battle only gets tougher.
Best wishes, Mr. President,