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Jan 13 2017
by Jacqueline Waple

College Students React to the Senate's First Steps to Repealing The Affordable Care Act

By Jacqueline Waple - Jan 13 2017
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You're likely wondering what's been going on in Washington — information from peers, professors, the Internet and news create a mélange of information that leaves us kinda lost. Here's what's actually going on.

Senate Republicans approved a budget blueprint early Thursday morning that allows the Affordable Care Act, or "Obamacare," to be replaced without any threat of filibuster from Democrats. This does not mean that the act is repealed; instead, this is the first step in the Republicans' plan to dismantle the program.

The final vote was cast at 1:30 AM Thursday morning, ending in a tally of 51 to 48. On Friday, the House is expected vote on the blueprint. But don't freak out (yet) — this merely gets the ball rolling. This is not law, and not the repeal itself; in fact, it does not require a presidential signature. 

Understandably, many are uneasy about what's to come. Those with pre-existing conditions, adults covered by a parent's insurance, employers, care-takers and health care professionals are all affected by headlines that convey an uncertain future in health care. Fresh U caught up with college students, a group who will be affected by the repeal.

Maya Ungar — Freshman, University of Arkansas

"It makes me really anxious about what's to come. It shows that the Republican congress doesn't have the American people's best interests at mind, that they are simply trying to repeal Obamacare as a political move, since the pre-existing condition clause and the under-26 clause have proven to be very popular. It's just very nerve wracking, because if the pre-existing condition clause actually does get taken away I'm going to have to start saving for medical expenses like I will have to save for retirement because I go to treatments three times a week, which are now covered by insurance but are really expensive otherwise."

Maya Nizinski — Freshman, University of North Carolina at Charlotte

"It's unfair that they're doing that without allowing Democrats to filibuster and that they don't have a replacement yet but they're already starting the process of repealing it. They're about to take health care away from the people who need it the most."

Diana Pope — Freshman, Bryn Mawr College

"I don't think that the Affordable Care Act has been entirely beneficial for all Americans. The Affordable Care Act has created a lot of problems for small businesses because they have to fund health care for their employees. In addition, the introduction of the ACA has raised the price of premiums in many states, making healthcare more expensive for most Americans. Yet, I still think it is atrocious that Republicans are trying to repeal this law. Obama worked arduously on finalizing the various provisions within the ACA during his presidential terms. Republicans don't have a viable and practical method to replace Obamacare, so they are stripping portions of the ACA that are incredibly important to most Americans without proper forethought into the consequences of repealing this law. Many college students and unemployed adults rely on the Affordable Care Act to stay on their parents' healthcare plan. I understand that Republicans want to stay true to their campaign promises, but this is an incredibly risky action without a practical replacement plan. Millions of Americans rely on the Affordable Care Act for their health care; it's preposterous that Republicans would risk the lives of American citizens just to keep a campaign promise."

Brooke McEvoy — Sophomore, University of Pittsburgh

"From my understanding, this repeal would have repercussions beyond measure or repair. This seems very shortsighted in nature. Part of me wonders if the entire ideology behind this decision isn't just to remove Obama's name from the act. This has obvious negative effects for college students, as from what I've gathered, most [of my] peers are still on parents' plans. Most students in college do not have full-time jobs with benefits. If we are no longer able to stay on plans...where's the money going to come from? It may result in yet another monetary burden for students already in thousands of dollars of debt due to an outdated system."

Sophia Ficarrotta — Freshman, University of North Carolina at Wilmington

"I will not be personally affected by this, but I know of many people who will be. I have a close friend who only has health insurance because of the Affordable Care Act. This headline doesn't surprise me because Trump stated he was going to get rid of Obamacare. I haven't heard of a replacement for Obamacare and wonder if there will be one at all."

A vast majority of college students who I've spoken with are not thrilled with what's going down in D.C. right now. I did, however, find one person who's happy about it:

Lead Image Credit: Pexels

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Jacqueline Waple - University of North Carolina at Wilmington

Jacqueline is majoring in environmental science at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. She loves traveling and being outdoors. Follow her on Instagram: @naturally.jackie

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