Obama makes last stand on healthcare
The healthcare issue has dominated the Presidential debate tussles between Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump. However, the man whose shake up to healthcare has caused such controversy has not finished having his say – with President Barack Obama encouraging people to start enrolling on November 1.
That is the date when the Affordable Care Act opens for 2017 health plans, and Obama has been making his voice heard – most recently making an appearance at Miami Dade College, in Miami, Florida, yesterday.
The sales job for the outgoing President is proving increasingly complex, however, with premiums rising by double digits in many areas of the country and a host of insurance companies having pulled out of his Obamacare program. Nevertheless, Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell outlined earlier this week (see article) that she still expects 13.8 million people to sign up for coverage during 2017 – an increase from the 12.7 million figure in 2016.
Obama has outlined a number of tweaks that he believes could improve the law – including allowing a public option that could increase competition. This would see the government create its own health insurance agency that would compete with other companies in the USA.
However, any changes would have to wait until at least January at the earliest, when the new Congress is in place.
Speaking about the plans, Josh Earnest, a White House spokesman, remarked that “the current Congress is one that’s dominated by Republicans who have voted more than 50 times to repeal the law, but have not once in the last six years actually put forward their own alternative proposal.”
According to the White House, taxpayer subsidies would soften any blow of heightened premiums with around 85% of customers able to get this financial assistance.
However, millions are still buying individual policies outside of the healthcare law marketplace with analysts estimating that there are around nine million people across the country with individual policies outside the law, according to an Associated Press report. It is estimated that from this number around five million qualify for the coverage provided by law, with around 2.5 million also having incomes that qualify for subsidies.
Now it is hoped that Obama’s final push can ensure a significant enrolment – with the season beginning on November 1 and closing on January 31.
However, the window for a strong push may be closing rapidly with Republican Donald Trump claiming he would repeal and replace the law if he to become President on November 8.
Where do you stand on the healthcare law issue? Do you think Obama’s stance has been a good one for US healthcare or has it backfired? Leave a comment below with your thoughts.
by Paul Lucas