One of President Donald Trump’s biggest campaign cries was to repeal and replace Obamacare. And now that he’s in office and moving at a staggering pace, the question is how long will it be before Obamacare is completely repealed? And more importantly, what will the impact be on the middle and lower classes.

Obamacare
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Understanding the Impact of Repealing Obamacare

“While much of the country has opposed the Affordable Care Act-a Kaiser Family Foundation poll in November 2016 found that 45 percent disliked it, while 43 percent supported it—there is little doubt that the law has had a significant impact on health care in America,” explains Ryan Varela of Boost Health Insurance.

“More than 16.2 million Americans obtained health insurance between 2013 and 2015, primarily through the government subsidized insurance marketplaces or expanded Medicaid programs.”

Those numbers indicate that the country is almost split down the middle when it comes to support and opposition of Obamacare. So when you look at the repeal and possible replacement, it’s important to do so without letting your political affiliations control your logical thinking. This is easier said than done, but it’s a crucial starting point if we’re ever going to have a constructive conversation on this topic.

For starters, it’s important not to freak out. While President Trump has shown that he’s willing and able to get things done rather quickly, we aren’t going to see any immediate changes to this nation’s healthcare system. At the very least, analysts believe it’ll take a year to design, draft, and pass a repeal of the Affordable Care Act.

Then, there’s the mission of creating a replacement plan, which could take just as long. So it’s important that everyone takes a deep breath.

The Pros and Cons of an Obamacare Repeal

In order to understand the actual impact a repeal of the Affordable Care Act would have on the lower and middle classes in America, it’s important that we recognize that there would be both positive and negative consequences. This isn’t a cut and dry situation where everything is good or bad. How you’ll be affected depends on your situation.

Let’s start by understanding the pros of a repeal. First off, there would be a big increase in competition among private insurance companies. These companies would be able to offer whatever plans they want without government interference. You would also see the reinstatement of many of the 3 to 5 million company-sponsored health care plans that were cancelled.

Some of the downsides to repealing Obamacare would be higher healthcare costs for millions of Americans and a lack of insurance for millions more who can’t afford to pay the expensive premiums. It’s also likely that we’d see a reinstatement of coverage denials based on pre-existing conditions, something that was outlawed as part of Obamacare.

Tense Moments Await

Ultimately, it all comes down to your personal views regarding economic policy and the role of the government. Do you believe that the government should require healthcare and has the right to suppress private businesses from acting independently?  Or do you believe that the government should allow people and businesses to govern themselves? Do you believe that access to healthcare is an innate human right, or do you believe it’s something that has to be purchased like any other good or commodity?

There aren’t necessarily right or wrong answers to these questions. There will always be differing opinions and it’s up to lawmakers to do what they feel is best for their citizens. But regardless of where you stand, you will be impacted by a repeal. The only question is whether that impact will be positive or negative.