Uncertainty with the Affordable Care Act

As a reporter on the public safety and health beat for the Columbia Missourian, I’ve been spending a great deal of my time and efforts concentrating on the Affordable Care Act and the impact its repeal could have on the general public. My very first story idea, and a story I spent a few weeks reporting on, dealt with the under-26 provision of the act, specifically what would happen if it were repealed and how that would affect the students at Mizzou, Stephens College and Columbia College.

Now, with the confusion currently residing in the legislative branch concerning the future of the Affordable Care Act, the Missourian staff has decided to put all ACA reporting on hold. Unfortunately, this includes my story. Although the story was completed and ready to publish, Missourian editors decided to push back the publication date until there is a little more certainty that the act will be repealed (or rather that anything will change at all in the near future).

Despite President Donald Trump’s claim that he would “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act with something much better, it seems unlikely that anything will happen in the next year or so.

This is exactly what three of the sources I spoke to for my story told me. One of my sources, an associate law professor at MU, Sam Halabi, said that it would be unlikely for congressional representatives to replace the Affordable Care Act anytime soon due to upcoming elections. With many seats opening up in the 2018 elections, he said many representatives who wanted to be reelected would not want to be seen as the one who took affordable health insurance away from the public.

The New York Times’ Affordable Care Act long read, “Will Obamacare Really Go Under the Knife?” expresses a similar view. The article details the history of the Affordable Care Act, from the moment it was signed by former President Barack Obama to current day. It truly is an exceptional read, especially if you’ve been trying to follow the health care debate currently going on in the U.S. government.

While the future of the Affordable Care Act is uncertain at this point, there have been several proposals in Congress as to possible replacements. Many of these proposals include portions of the Affordable Care Act that are already in place, and merely take away unpopular elements.

I suggest taking a look at some of the work Congress is doing to figure out a replacement plan for the act. It seems to me like this is going to be quite a lengthy process, and one with quite a few bumps along the way. The Kaiser Family Foundation has a health care proposal comparison on their website, which is a great way to learn what’s being debated.

For more information about the Affordable Care Act, specifically in relation to the central-Missouri area, check out our previous coverage. And if you have any questions or ideas for further coverage of the Affordable Care Act, please let me know!


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