Science

Obamacare For 20 Million Americans; May Face 'Repeal Without Replace'

By Joana Verdeflor , Jan 10, 2017 05:56 PM EST
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WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 06: U.S. President Barack Obama is interviewed by Vox at the Blair House on January 6, 2017 in Washington, DC. The president discussed the future of Obamacare during a livestreamed broadcast. (Photo : Photo by Ron Sachs-Pool/Getty Images)

Obamacare has opened wide doors of quality health care to significant patient populations since it was passed in 2010. In fact, the health law provided insurance to more than 20 million people.

"The first set of patients we saw - it was like, 'Wow, I can see a doctor for the first time. I can afford to go to the doctor,'" said Maria Gomez, Mary's Center president. "There were patients that knew they had tumors, or knew they hadn't had a pap smear in a long, long time."

Mary's Center is a community health center catering to patient needs in Washington, D.C. including its Maryland suburbs. According to the center's patients and employees, the patient population and the quality of care delivered has changed since Obamacare was implemented.

Gomez further explained how Obamacare went beyond improving access to care. The health law provided new streams of revenue. Obamacare allowed the centre to hire more specialists and provide more health education programs.

According to studies published in Health Affairs, similar trends have been observed in the country's more than 1,400 federally-backed community health centers.

Obamacare has extended its reach to provided health security to low-income citizens who are often in medically undeserved areas. It further quantified health services provided and types of clinic visits resulting in their outreach.

These evidences emphasize the apprehension of these communities as the nation faces changes under the Trump administration. GOP Congress has expressed its plans to repeal and replace Obamacare.

"I'd love to think we can think of policies that will reduce harm, and make things better," expressed Leighton Ku, director of the Center for Health Policy Research at George Washington University, "But my crystal ball isn't that clear." Ku is also an author of one of the studies.

Department Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell warned the Congress of the possible dangers of repel without replace. Burrwell believes that if Obamacare is repealed without being replaced, it will damage the country's individual insurance market. Health insurance companies may not be able to see the market in the future therefore causing them to raise prices or drop out. This tendencies will mean more Americans will be unable to afford coverage otherwise not at all.

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