Republican Health Care Act Dies in Congress

Joseph Kratz, Staff Writer

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), or as it is more commonly known, Obamacare, was a landmark legislative act passed during the Obama Administration’s tenure in office. The ACA was a hugely consequential act that attempted to increase the availability and affordability of health insurance to Americans. It attempted to achieve this by creating a marketplace where citizens could more easily shop for health insurance, as well as making it illegal for health insurance providers to refuse insurance to people with preexisting issues.

The ACA was, for a large part, a success. The amount of uninsured Americans decreased by about 20 to 24 million. As well as, by some Congressional Budget Office (CBO) studies, decreasing the federal deficit.

It was not without its flaws though. One of the most grievous issues with the Affordable Care Act was the botched roll out of its online marketplace. The marketplace, found at, was supposed to be a place where those seeking health care could more easily shop for insurance plans that fit their medical, as well as financial, wants and needs. But as the day that the ACA was set to take effect, it became obvious that the website might not be ready, and it was not. When the federal marketplace opened up there were overwhelming complaints of the website crashing, not responding, and taking a long time to load.

These issues along with Obamacare’s direct contradiction with many conservative values made it an easy target for conservative scorn and criticism. This made it a focus for many federal elections, congressional as well as presidential. So after the 2016 election, as Republicans gained control of the Senate, House of Representatives, and the Oval Office, they leapt at the chance to “repeal and replace” Obamacare.

So the Republican leadership drew up a new healthcare act called the American Health Care Act (AHCA). Following the tradition of nicknaming partisan bills, it garnered the name Trumpcare or Ryancare, after President Trump, and Paul Ryan, the Speaker of the House.

Eventually though, the AHCA died in the halls of the Capitol. It was not able to gain the necessary support that it needed to be passed. Much of the opposition was due to the fact that the CBO estimated that almost 24 million Americans would lose coverage, and then other opponents felt that it was too similar to the ACA and that it did not meet their conservative values.

But in the end the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is, and will continue to be, one of the most consequential legislative acts of our generation, as well as a defining aspect of Barack Obama’s tenure as President.