The Repeal of the ACA is Changing Medical Student’s Careers
By now, it’s spread around that the Trump administration has the plan to repeal Obamacare, otherwise known as the ACA. If the ACA does get repealed, a havoc of sorts will arise. Being in, or soon to be in, the medical field, medical students should be wondering how this will change their career goals. The repeal of the ACA will not only put people without insurance, it will also leave doctors with fewer patients, and more ER visits.
First, let’s start with the way the repeal of the ACA will impact medical students (and anyone between the ages of 19 and 26) directly. The ACA says that anyone under the age of 26 can be covered by their parent’s insurance. With the repeal of the ACA, this law goes away, leaving kids at the will of insurance companies, and consequently leaving many uninsured. Most people under the age of 26 don’t make enough to buy insurance on their own. Being in school, starting a low paying job, or working at a small company (which will change healthcare coverage as well) can make health insurance cost almost impossible. Kids from the ages of 19-26 will pay lower rates than those who are older than them, but a fair (and livable) wage is always up for debate.
As students start to become doctors, and their profession comes into the medical field, their student loans will also have to start to be paid off. How great will the incomes of new doctors be with all this new change? Let’s start with doctors having less business. Less business means less money. Almost 30 million Americans will be without insurance if the ACA gets repealed. That’s 30 million people who will only be going to the doctor if completely necessary; in some cases, it will be life or death situations only. The average American will spend about $10,000 every year in healthcare coverage. 30 million Americans, who are about to be avoiding the doctor, are going to make a huge dent in the salaries of doctors across the nation.
Not only will there be a lesser patient base, there will also be less covered services. Again, people will be avoiding these types of services if they can’t afford them. Things like blood pressure screenings, mammograms, immunizations, childhood behavior and autism screenings, and contraceptives, will now no longer be free services. Students may think “great, fewer people who weren’t spending money anyway.” Well, those students would be wrong. Those free services are reimbursed by the government. If those services are no longer free, most of those patients will stop coming to the doctor, leaving doctors without reimbursement and patients.
Medicaid and Medicare funding will also be cut, leaving all primary care doctors without a regular vast majority of their regular patients. The ACA put more emphasis on having primary care doctors by offering more reimbursements, bonuses, and other incentives. Doctor consultations, such as “no visits” over the phone, will be defunded by over 50%, making quality care less affordable and available. Things like “essential health benefits will also be going away. This includes at home care, and preventative and wellness services. These are services that reduce health risks because of awareness and account for quite a large chunk of doctor’s salaries.
With the repeal of the ACA, thousands will lose insurance. Thousands will get sick and no longer have the means to pay for their wellness. The repeal of the ACA affects everyone, including doctors, patients, and people in between. To contact your local representative about your stance on the issue, find them here. Remember, as much as it may not seem like it sometimes, individual voices do matter. Doctors and patients alike, educated and well-informed voices need to be heard through our representatives. What the repeal of the ACA means for everyone is unclear with no alternative, or similar, structure put in place. With no alternative, it also seems quite a daunting repeal.