The Instigator
Pro (for)
The Contender
Con (against)

Should we repeal and replace Obamacare?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/11/2017 Category: News
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 1,109 times Debate No: 103505
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (2)
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Repealing and replacing Obamacare should be the number 1 priority for this country to do. Obamacare is the single greatest failure in the history of the United States regarding healthcare. It has forced the average American to pay really high premiums and have very few options. Recently insurers just declared that they will be increasing the taxes for Obamacare in 2018. This is a perfect example of how Americans will have to struggle again next year to pay of their taxes to have health coverage. In addition, Obamacare is increasing the national debt of the United States since a lot of money is being invested into it. Many people might make the case that Obamacare has 11.4 million people covered but the real question is how many people are not going to be insured because of Obamacare. Per the Daily Wire a statistic from the Congressional Budget Office states that 26-28 million people will not have health coverage over the next ten years. This number is clearly greater than the amount of people covered under Obamacare. Another important issue with Obamacare is that the wait time in emergency rooms has increased because less doctors are accepting Medicaid. If we can unite as a country and accept the problems with Obamacare we can and should repeal and replace it because healthcare is the single most important issue in this country that should be taken care of.



== Framework ==

Pro argues that we should "replace" Obamacare. Nonetheless, Pro hasn't explained *what* they want to see as the "replacement" for Obamacare, thus failing to fulfill Pro's burden of proof. While it's up to Pro to pursue a plan, if Pro doesn't give us an alternative, don't let Pro claim they actually stand for the vulnerable. Nonetheless, I'm going to argue that Obamacare has, on balance, done more good than harm.

I argue as an alternative to Pro's plan that Obamacare should be expanded substantially. What does that look like? While I'm not clear on the technicalities of this and it doesn't matter in the round, it would involve the introduction of a public healthcare option, akin to the one originally proposed to be in the ACA. Moreover, cost-controlling measures would be introduced, in the ways that the Hillary Clinton campaign proposed. [1] However, to be clear, this isn't an advocacy position: it's just a mechanism to establish that solving the harms Pro identifies aren't exclusively done by repealing Obamacare. Insofar as I defend a world in which Obamacare continues to exist, vote Con, irrespective of any advocacy.

== Rebuttal ==

Pro puts forward four major ideas, namely that (1) Obamacare has forced Americans to pay higher premiums and has reduced their options, (2) the ACA has strained American debt and taxpayers, (3) the ACA has reduced the number of people who will have health coverage, and (4) Obamacare has increased the waiting period in emergency rooms. I'll address each in turn.

(1) Cost to consumers

Pro says that Obamacare "has forced the average American to pay really high premiums and have very few options." Pro's justification for this is that UnitedHealth will reintroduce the 3% tax on insurance for Obamacare. [2]

However, in reality, Obamacare has helped affordability by a more substantial extent. Kimberly Amadeo explains, "The ACA provides tax credits for insurance to the middle class (below 400 percent of the poverty level). It limits out-of-pocket costs to $7,150 for an individual plan and $14,300 for a family plan in 2017. It expands Medicaid to 138 percent of the federal poverty level and provides this coverage to adults without children for the first time." [3]

Moreover, the ACA has slowed down the inflation of healthcare costs in the United States. Indeed, Loren Adler and Paul Ginsburg of the Brookings Institute explain, "[M]any features of the ACA push in the opposite direction and save consumers money. The individual mandate and federal subsidies greatly expanded the number of people purchasing coverage in the individual market, pushing premiums down both by increasing the sheer size of the market""the bigger the market, the lower the prices""and including many healthier people who previously went uninsured. In addition, the ACA created relatively transparent marketplaces where insurers must compete on premiums for products standardized by actuarial value, allowing competition to drive down prices." [4]

Conclusion: The most vulnerable and poor pay much less for their healthcare in a world with Obamacare; the impacts of higher taxes on consumers is outweighed by the positive effects of Obamacare.

(2) National debt

First, the opposite has happened: the ACA has slowed down government investment into healthcare. A summary of a study by the Growth Urban Institute notes, "The ACA could be helping to flatten the spending curve in unexpected ways, including the effect certain Medicare regulations have had on other payers, and how premiums in Obamacare exchanges were lower in their first few years than predicted." [5] This means that government investment in healthcare reduces because of Obamacare.

Second, the long-term benefits of healthcare access outweigh this impact, because the ACA focused on preventative measures. Indeed, Kimberly Amadeo continues, "The ACA further cut costs by requiring all insurance plans to cover . . . preventative care that must be provided at no cost. These include well-woman visits, domestic violence screening and chronic disease management. It also covers lab tests to diagnose diseases, including mammograms and colonoscopies. In addition, maternity and newborn care, and dental and vision care for children is free. Mothers receive time from work and a private room to nurse their babies/express milk. Preventive care cuts costs by identifying and treating diseases before they become emergencies." [6] Crucially, this includes "treatment for mental health, addiction and chronic diseases. These patients can be the most expensive to treat, which is why insurance companies try to avoid coverage. If left untreated, many ended up homeless or in prison, which costs the government much more." [6]

Conclusion: Obamacare ended up reducing overall costs for the government, meaning it didn't put as much strain on the national debt as Pro claims it did.

(3) Number of people covered

Pro argues that 2 million less people will be covered in the next 10 years. There's no explained causation with Obamacare from Pro. Crucially, Obamacare repeal would cause 32 million people to lose health insurance. [7] This means much less people getting access to insurance. But importantly, note that this concedes that insurance coverage is a benefit of itself -- so if I prove that Obamacare resulted in insurance coverage of a reasonable quality, vote Con.

Conclusion: Obamacare definitely results in more insurance coverage.

(4) Waiting periods in emergency rooms

While opponents of Obamacare predicted substantially longer waiting periods, waiting periods in emergency rooms haven't changed substantially. Indeed, Mattie Quinn explains, "A few years into the law, not much has changed. The average wait time at a hospital in 2014 -- the first year that Americans were required to have health insurance -- was 24 minutes, down only four minutes from 2012. From 2008-2010, 31 minutes was the median time before someone was seen in the ER." [8] These impacts pale in comparison to the larger impacts of Obamacare.

== My Case ==

Most of my offensive material has been dealt with in rebuttal; I'll expand on it next round. But broadly, Obamacare has increased access to health insurance.

First, it has provided massive tax credits to help the poor afford health insurance, and has expanded Medicaid and Medicare to assist the most vulnerable.

Second, it has offered health insurance to 22 million people, and has saved at least 50,000 lives. [9]

Third, it has reduced healthcare costs. It has put more young people in the insurance pool by expanding insurance by dependency to all people under the age of 26, lowering the liabilities of the insurance industry. By putting more people in general in the insurance pool, it has put more money into the insurance industry, lowering costs by itself.

This debate is about individuals in poverty fighting for the basic right to healthcare. Pro wants to strip that right away from them. Voters, make your decision wisely, because only the Con world is one where people can access this right.

[6] Refer back to source [3]
Debate Round No. 1
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Debate Round No. 3
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by ittrlitjfcialsnefr 4 years ago
There are some issues with Obamacare, but surely there are problems with all healthcare systems! I believe that in some form or another, there should be SOME form of universal healthcare.
Posted by platoandaristotle 4 years ago
I think Obamacare has a horrible design. The culprit, in my opinion, is the Republican congresspeople, however, and what we need is a government-provided insurance option (single-payer)
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