The fate of Obamacare still remains a mystery after Donald Trump’s first 12 days as president.
Conventional wisdom says that with the support of a Republican majority in Congress, Trump will be able to repeal the majority of provisions set forth by the Affordable Care Act, a central campaign promise. Trump believes that Obamacare has been implemented poorly and has caused employers to lay off workers due to the supposed increasing costs of insurance.
A number of Penn students and professors, however, are wary of the effects of an Obamacare repeal.
“The impacts of fading Obamacare are especially dangerous for both women and young people,” College freshman Lucy Ma said.
Ma believes that Obamacare has allowed for increased access to contraceptives and mammograms and has addressed other issues of women’s health.
However, a Wharton freshman who preferred to remain anonymous because she didn’t want to publicly share her political views said that she believes that the “Affordable Care Act did not accomplish what it was intended to.”
“Obamacare actually increased the cost of health insurance for families like mine, but it didn’t even improve the quality of health care that we got,” she noted. Although she is unsure exactly what Trump’s health care solution will be, she is excited for a change to the status quo.
Organizations like Penn Democrats are already launching initiatives to attempt to keep Obamacare in place. Members of the organization recently went to the Women’s March in Washington, D.C., and participated in a fundraiser for the Philadelphia branch of Planned Parenthood, an organization with deep ties to the future of Obamacare and health insurance.
But it is not only students at Penn who have had a strong reaction towards Trump’s proposed repeal of Obamacare. Professors also acknowledged that the potential repeal of the Affordable Care Act may affect some Penn students’ abilities to pay for various health needs.
Assistant professor of political science Dawn Teele noted that although many students at Penn come from relatively well-off, middle class families, there are quite a few students from low-income households as well. Teele said that if Obamacare is repealed, it might be hard for families to balance their payment for health insurance with Penn’s cost of attendance.
Professor of political science Marc Meredith argued that the repeal of the Affordable Care Act — largely considered to be former President Barack Obama’s major achievement — would be detrimental to the future of the health care system.
But Teele had a strong message for how students can stay involved to fight against the repeal of the law.
“Penn students need to stay motivated and organized,” Teele said. “They need to be calling their local [officials] and representatives to convince them to keep [policies like] Obamacare in place.”