The impact of the Affordable Care Act, popularly known as Obamacare, can’t be underestimated. While it was not perfect legislation it allowed “9.9 million people to get new health insurance, and more than 4 percent of all Americans have gotten health insurance for the first time,” according to a new Gallup poll. The ACA was tied to a Medicaid expansion that was rejected in part and in full by at least 19 states, many in the Republican-controlled South.
But it is also the signature piece of the Obama legacy that Donald Trump has stated he will repeal on day one. With the reality that Trump will be inaugurated on Jan. 20, 2017, many people are worried, including those who voted for Trump. Vice President Joe Biden recently appeared on the CNN program “State of the Union” and said, “Go ahead repeal it. Repeal it now and see what happens. The idea that all of a sudden they can just go back and start charging women more than men, pre-existing conditions don’t matter? … Here’s the deal, we knew he had to pass the Affordable Care Act, we knew from the beginning.”
Biden went on to compare the ACA to the Social Security Act that is now a financial safety net for millions of Americans who are elderly, disabled or retired. The program changed and was refined to become the Social Security program we all know today but it was opposed at the time of its implementation.
On day one President-elect Trump has announced plans to immediately take action against Obamacare with an executive order. Sean Spicer, Trump’s incoming White House press secretary, said on ABC’s “This Week” that Trump will “repeal a lot of the regulations and actions that have been taken by this administration over the last eight years that have hampered both economic growth and job creation.”
Among Trump’s biggest voting bloc were voters in coal-producing areas of the country. However, a repeal of Obamacare will be catastrophic for those who suffer from black lung disease. The respiratory ailment is a significant health risk for coal miners and an expense for mining companies who must pay benefits. Under Obamacare, three provisions made it easier for coal workers and their spouses to collect disability benefits related to the disease — both medical and financial. In the past, people with the disease had to prove the condition came from working in the mines, and the process to gain assistance was lengthy. Coal miners will now have to deal with the promises that Trump made because it’s personal.