On March 6th, House Republicans released their plan to repeal and replace Obamacare. It's no secret that this was a long-awaited moment since the Affordable Care Act's passage in March of 2010. After Obamacare was signed into law, debates about healthcare moved to the forefront of the U.S. political realm. Pundits on both sides of the aisle have discussed the benefits and costs of former President Obama's healthcare legislation. The newly proposed Republican plan, also known as the American Healthcare Act of 2017, is no stranger to its own cost-benefit analysis. In order to understand the conservative perspective on this new legislation, Fresh U interviewed seven college conservatives to learn their opinions on the matter. Their responses are as follows.
1. Dennis Schuck, Political Science Major, Seton Hall University '20
"Obviously, the opinion on the new healthcare plan is split. Even amongst conservatives themselves, there is no consensus. Many conservatives do not like the new plan because it is a bit more of a compromise than was expected coming into Trump's reign. However, I like it a lot. President Trump is not in office to cater to partisan politics; he is here to make this country the best it can be. There are definitely parts of the Democratic health care philosophy that are very positive, and they should not be totally ignored. It is important that all politicians begin to compromise rather than simply disagreeing to disagree, and the GOP is trying to keep parts of ObamaCare that they believe to be positive steps in the right direction. I don't have a problem with that and, as a matter of fact, I view it as a good thing because it shows that partisan politics are not getting in the way of true progress. I do, however, believe ObamaCare needs to be repealed as the costs are way too high and forcing people to have health insurance is too much government involvement which I do not fundamentally believe is the best way to go about politics."
2. Hayden Fulk, Business and Political Science Majors, William Jewell College '20
"As a college conservative at a liberal arts school, the first thing that stands out to me in the AHCA is that I am able to stay on my parent's healthcare plan until I am 26. Thinking long-term, I will be able to focus on law school instead of worrying about how I am going to get affordable health insurance because I will be able to be supported by my parent's insurance until I am on my feet with a good job with health benefits. Also, learning in a liberal environment has grown my conservative beliefs because I fully understand the other side of things. For example, many of my peers believe that the AHCA is identical to Obamacare and is simply a political move by Donald J. Trump and House leaders. However, the AHCA is supposed to lower taxes on healthcare premiums, over the counter medication and prescription medication. This ensures that this healthcare act will provide the most affordable medical help that every person needs. Lastly, this healthcare act is important because it is improving Medicaid by allowing states to use their funding on patients most in need. Under Obamacare, funds in the states were allotted out to citizens on a periodical scale. However, this system will provide a more systematic and efficient approach to ensuring that the people who need healthcare the most, receive it."
3. Jacob Addington, Political Science and Strategic Communications Majors, University of Missouri '20
"I'm happy to see that the GOP is addressing Obamacare and I'm happy to see that they want to do away with some of the taxes that were imposed under the ACA. I'm also happy to see that they are allowing people to spend their healthcare dollars the way they want. I am a little concerned though because it seems really similar to the ACA and I'm not sure if it's going to fix the problems that Republicans have seen. I was also really concerned when I saw the number of people who could potentially lose access to healthcare because of this legislation."
4. Jacob West, Sociopolitical Communications Major, Missouri State University '20
"I think repeal and replace is irresponsible without a viable alternative for the 24 million that will go uninsured."
5. Karly Matthews, Journalism and Political Science Majors, Temple University '20
"The American Healthcare Act is disappointing to many Republicans, including prominent members of the party like Senator Rand Paul, because it's so similar to the Affordable Care Act. Republicans, including myself, want the healthcare market to be infused with capitalist principles so that health insurance providers are competing for Americans' 'business' per say. That way, competition would increase quality and lower costs to allow Americans to choose the plan that works best for their unique families without government mandates. As well Health Saving Accounts (HSAs) would allow Americans to save their own pre-taxed money for healthcare expenses, which the new plan includes but is not based on. I think that the plan is a step in the right direction to help the health insurance industry, but I don't think that it will garner the support – whether that be from Democrats or Republicans – needed to pass through Congress even if President Donald Trump endorsed it."
6. Robert Kelley, Film Major, Evangel University '17
"Obamacare is no longer affordable for the people it covers. If the American Health Care Act enables more healthcare providers, it would lower premiums and make the industry more competitive. President Trump is proposing a tax credit as a means of paying for the care. This is risky for some who are currently using Obamacare, because they'd have to earn enough money annually for the tax credit to be a benefit. For Trump's plan to be successful, this transition needs to be thoroughly mapped out so nobody is left unprotected."
7. Ryan Singer, Sports Management Major, Lynn University '17
"I like the GOP healthcare plan. I think it is a good start to getting rid of Obamacare, which has destroyed businesses. This plan will help individuals and businesses so much since there are no mandates. Also I like the tax credit idea and how it is now age based. With that being said I am excited for phase two and three when the other stuff comes in like insurance across state lines. I am excited and proud to be a conservative."
Whether conservative or liberal, it is important to listen to the opinion of citizens on both sides of an issue to understand it more fully. The healthcare debate will certainly not be put to rest even if the American Healthcare Act of 2017 passes through Congress, so the best thing to do is engage in productive conversations about these issues that matter.
Lead Image Credit: Fox News
Editor's Note: Some quotes have been slightly altered for clarity and cohesiveness.