President Obama signed into law the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) in March 2010, perhaps the most contentious legislation in modern times. Not a single Republican congressmen or senator voted for the law and the Republican-led congress attempted to repeal “Obamacare” in full or in part at least 60 times.

With President-elect Trump’s inauguration imminent and his promise to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act in his first 100 days, some discussion of Obamacare is in order.

The primary intention of the law – reducing the number of people without medical insurance has been remarkably successful. The Congressional Budget Office reported in March 2016, 23 million people received medical insurance as a result of the PPACA. And according to the CDC, the overall percentage of people without health insurance decreased from 16% in 2010 to less than 9% in 2016.

By and large individuals are satisfied with their Obamacare health plans. Overall, 71 percent of people who have plans through the Obamacare marketplace or Medicaid (made possible by the expansion of Medicaid in the PPACA) said their healthcare plans were good, very good or excellent, according to data by the nonprofit Commonwealth Fund.

Most people are aware that the primary goal of Obamacare is to reduce the number of uninsured Americans, but multiple surveys have shown that a majority of Americans are unaware of many specific provisions of the law. Perhaps this should not be surprising since the law is 906 pages long and includes dozens of significant changes to how we pay for and receive medical care.

Despite the ignorance of the details of Obamacare, when asked, bi-partisan majorities of people favor many provisions of the law.

Provision Percentage of all respondents in favor Percentage of Republicans in favor
Allowing young adults to stay on their parents’ insurance plans until age 26

85%

83%

Eliminating out-of-pocket costs for preventive services

83%

77%

Prohibiting insurance companies from denying coverage because of a person’s medical history

69%

63%

Providing financial help to low- and moderate-income Americans who don’t get insurance through their jobs to help them purchase coverage

80%

67%

Considering the bi-partisan popularity of specific Obamacare provisions, it is bewildering that Republican opposition is ceaseless and was a tenet of every Republican presidential candidate. Obamacare repeal in 2017 seems certain. Will it really come at the cost of medical insurance for over 20 million Americans? And if not, what really is the point? I haven’t heard Trump nor a single Republican leader elucidate one.

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