As a 19-year-old Latina college student handling her own medical appointments, I love to watch Boomers decide my future.
Politicians from the left, like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, have built their platforms off of advocacy for medicare for all, citing it as a human right. Conservative politicians, like Ted Cruz have heavily rejected this due to its “unconstitutional mandates.”
Though it’s constitutionality has been brought into question on multiple occasions, the Supreme Court has ruled in favor of upholding the Affordable Care act twice before. It’s not surprising that conservatives see collectivist policies as a violation to their constitutional rights, but extremely absurd.
So, I decided to take research into my own hands and beg the question, “What does repealing the Affordable Care Act mean to college students?”
The Affordable Care Act, commonly referred to as Obamacare, was authorized in March 2010. The ACA aimed to make healthcare more easily accessible and available to lower income households, expand the medicaid program and effectively lower healthcare costs.
At face value, this seems very reasonable. Countries like the United Kingdom, Japan and Canada have had universal healthcare plans for decades. However, true to American fashion, voters and politicians have been very divided on this issue.
Republicans and libertarians largely reject the ACA due to their disdain towards government involvement in their healthcare. Progressives believe that government funded healthcare is a necessary evil, due to the lack of access to healthcare in this country.
Obamacare makes healthcare available to people with preexisting conditions, like pregnancy, cancer and diabetes,disproportionately benefiting women, people with disabilities and the elederly. The ACA hikes up the price of premiums for those who already had healthcare, but I think that it’s a small price to pay for the general public to have equal access to healthcare.
Yet, the Trump administration has vilified Obamacare, pointing to the evils of socialized medicine and taxes.
This is an absurd attack considering the fact that socialized medicine saved Trump’s life when he battled the coronavirus last month. The Democratic party actively endorses universal healthcare, but there is still debate amongst prominent democrats deciding how the Affordable Care Act should be interpreted today. While Sanders and Warren heavily emphasize the need for medicare for all, some democrats like Andrew Yang, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris reject medicare for all but promote a system that would expand coverage.
The Supreme Court has already ruled against repealing Obamacare a few times, but given the new 6-3 conservative majority and Amy Coney Barrett’s history of advocacy against the ACA, it’s not really a matter of if it will be repealed, but when.
The Supreme Court’s biggest beef with the bill is the individual mandate. This requires that all U.S. Citizens have a healthcare plan or pay a penalty. So, there is still a very real possibility that they will take a stab at that part of the act, while leaving the rest intact.
But let’s face it, these last four years have been a garbage fire of human rights being lacerated and constitutionality being completely disregarded. What does this mean for college students?
Essentially, we’re f*cked—cutting the ACA would be detrimental to college students.
There is a provision in the Affordable Care Act that allows people under 26 to stay on their parents’ insurance plan. Not only does this take a financial strain off of students who are likely already rotting their digestive tracts with ramen and forming stress ulcers, but it inherently increases the quality of health services on college campuses.
Students would be forced to find their own health insurance, even those suffering from pre-existing conditions, during the coronavirus pandemic.
Repealing the ACA is setting up our generation for failure. Having to juggle an unclear future, tainted by the pandemic and the student debt crisis is stressful enough, but adding an insurance bill on top of that is not sustainable.
Access to healthcare has never been more controversial. Jigsaw, the killer, from the “Saw” franchise has even taken a stab at the healthcare debate. “Saw XI,” shows what can spawn when people don’t have affordable healthcare at their disposal. This is especially pertinent since we are in the middle of a global pandemic.
We need to make our voices heard. Electing a Democrat will not solve all our problems. As voters, it’s our duty to pressure our representatives into advocating for legislation that will benefit us. Cutting the Affordable Care Act is a huge threat to college students who are already financially deficient and may suffer from preexisting conditions.
Find your local representatives, speak up and act as vocal opponents when we see our rights and the rights of others being threatened.