VERMONT - This contentious election season brought out issues ranging from Obamacare, immigration, climate change, the conflict in Syria and how to fix the Economy, just to name a few. Obamacare, or the Affordable Care Act, has been quite the issue that was raised during this election term. President Elect, Donald Trump, has said countless times that he will repeal the Affordable Care Act.
There is a lot of unknowns in the Act that people aren't necessarily aware of though when it comes to Obamacare. The majority of Vermonters and Americans think that it is just whether you can buy insurance and get subsidies, and the expansion of Medicaid.
Healthcare is a very complicated issue. In order to change and repeal this law that went into effect in 2010, there would have to be a majority in the senate to overturn this law that was put into place under President Obama. Republicans ended up taking control in the House and in the Senate this Election season for the next two years and the President-Elect is a Republican as well.
Before the Affordable Care Act went into effect in 2010, the state of Vermont was in good hands when it came to Healthcare. There was an Affordability Act back in 2006 that was implemented called the 2006 Health Care Affordability Act. Catamount Health was offered to eligible Vermonters back in October 2007.
In Vermont, the impact of Obamacare would mean that nearly 30,000 people would be effected. Ultimately, if the law got repealed and changed under the Trump Administration, millions nationally and tens of thousands in Vermont would be affected who rely on the law to help them with healthcare.
It is hard to speculate the impacts of what repealing the Affordable Care Act would look like due to the uncertainty of what Congress will do in the incoming administration.
Lawrence Miller, the Chief of Health Care Reform under Governor Shumlin in Vermont, says this in regards to the topic of healthcare in Vermont and in America moving forward, "The devil is in the details and understanding what those details are going to be are absolutely incredibly important."
Miller goes on to say that the Minority in Congress in this next Administration will be as equally important to the decisions facing this country.
Laural Ruggles, Vice President of Marketing and Community Health Improvement at NVRH in Saint Johnsbury in regards to healthcare currently, "Healthcare is expensive, it really is, if you get sick or you need surgery or whatever it is, its expensive and if you wanna keep down the cost of healthcare, the really only way to do that is to keep people well."
Ruggles says that it takes a whole community and lots of people collectively in order to keep people healthy. One of the ways that NVRH is keeping the community healthy is their partnership with the Vermont Food Bank to offer a once a month free food opportunity right at the hospital called, "VeggieVanGo". On Thursday, November 17th was the latest edition of this opportunity and hundreds of families participated according to Ruggles. This time there was Thanksgiving items giving out, besides fresh produce that is given out to community members each time.
Going back to the reality as to whether Obamacare gets repealed or not, Ruggles says this, "If people lose their insurance, people who have insurance lose their insurance and they come to the hospital, there's a cost to that, somebody's gonna pay for that and we've known that all along, if they really can't afford it and they don't have insurance and the entire state of Vermont, every hospital is not-for-profit, nobody gets turned away, everybody gets care but there's a cost to that." When there's more people that don't have to pay for health insurance, the more people that have the insurance will have to pay.
There's an uncertain future to the issue of healthcare, it's just a matter of time as to what will happen to this complicated issue facing the country moving forward.