by Kevin Copp ’18
Donald Trump’s promise to repeal Obamacare has become one of the focal points of his tenure as the President-elect. His ability to repeal the Affordable Care Act and install his health care system, mysterious as it might be right now, will prove how willing he is to adhere to the claims and assurances of his campaign.
Although he promises a new plan will be created “simultaneously” (according to Forbes) with the elimination of Obamacare, the removal of President Obama’s plan will have serious negative ramifications for people who need affordable health care and for the economy.
Trump has been primarily focused on the tax aspects of Obamacare. While Obamacare has created some problems throughout different states in the health insurance industry, the removal of the tax system that covers the individual and employer mandate would lead only to savings of extremely widespread disparity.
According to the Tax Policy Center, Americans earning between $24,000 and $89,000 a year would save around $150 a year. Americans earning upwards of $700,000, however, will save $33,000 a year on average. Even though some of this difference can be attributed to the progressive tax system, it is clear that cutting the individual and employer mandates will only continue to further the problem of income inequality.
Additionally, the overall cost of receiving health insurance would skyrocket for the average American worker. The extra $150 a year would not come close to covering the private insurance costs with a loss of government subsidies.
Frank Clemente and Ron Pollack estimate that the cost of insurance would increase about $4,000 to $6,000 a year per family, depending on their income level. Thus the most important aspect of Obamacare, its affordability for many working-class families, would be taken away.
The main premise that Trump ran on, his identification as a political outsider who wants to “drain the swamp” of career politicians who benefit from corruption, is nullified by his desire to eliminate affordable health care for those who need it and bring tax relief of an average of $197,000 to the top 0.1 percent of American households.
While he may not help those directly aided by political corruption, his repeal of Obamacare will bring the most tax relief to those who certainly need it the least.
The economic impact of repealing Obamacare will bring harm not only to the health care industry, but also to many other industries. Authors Leighton Ku, Erika Steinmetz, Erin Brantley, and Brian Bruen believe that repealing Obamacare will lead to nearly one million lost jobs in the health care industry by 2019. They also predict that this could lead to another 1.5 million jobs lost in other industries in the same timeframe. The $150 many working-class families would be saving in taxes would not provide much help in the face of a pink slip.
With the repeal of Obamacare, many Americans will be unable to afford health care while the social elite will receive increased tax breaks. The economy will also suffer with the elimination of the ACA. Trump’s plan to repeal Obamacare makes good on his campaign promises, but the negative impacts the repeal will have for so many hard-working Americans is a step in the wrong direction for our society.