The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Texas A&M pitcher Kaiden Wilson (30) delivers a pitch during Texas A&M’s game against Tennessee at the NCAA Men’s College World Series finals at Charles Schwab Field in Omaha, Nebraska on Saturday, June 22, 2024. (Chris Swann/The Battalion)
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Students, professor share concerns, hopes regarding ObamaCare repeal

Affordable+Care+Act
Photo by Via Creative Commons
Affordable Care Act

After President Donald Trump’s consecutive rounds of executive orders this past month, A&M students and faculty weighed in about the supposedly imminent repeal of ObamaCare and what it could mean for student access to healthcare in the future.
For students on ObamaCare to those that use university health insurance to the ones who rely on a guardian’s insurance, the Affordable Care Act repeal will have a varying effect on their health care access in the future. Several Aggies shared their experiences with the Affordable Care Act, including its furthered protection for people with pre-existing conditions and its allowing for children to remain on their parents’ insurance until they’re 26 years old.
Alicia Bennett, education senior and cancer survivor, struggled with a rare type of sarcoma desmoid cancer for 6 years. The struggle ended in a surgery that removed her right arm, breast and chest wall. Bennett said she fears the impact of future health insurance changes, especially the struggle over insurance plan like ObamaCare, Bennett said, which would be an issue if said safety net is repealed
“I don’t think it will affect students right away, unless they’re already on those programs, but I think it will affect us a lot after graduation or at 26, whenever we can’t fall back on parents’ health insurance,” Bennett said.
While the ACA repeal places doubts on many students’ futures, Bretta Winters, aerospace engineering sophomore, said she remains cautiously optimistic about the repeal.
“I am actually looking forward to it. My premiums skyrocketed when it got enacted,” Winters said. “The repeal should help bring those costs down … My family can not really afford to pay the premiums we’ve been paying since ObamaCare; we’ve been struggling. But I am worried about how they’ll repeal it. If done wrong, it could be a complete mess.”
Other students deal with health care through different avenues. Education junior Christi Hemmeline said she came to access insurance through the Texas A&M health care plan.
“My dad got laid off in the recession,” Hemmeline said. “He got another job after a year, but it wasn’t as much payment … He worked there for almost 6 years and then their entire branch of the company went under. So I had to get student health insurance, which has been good.”
Hemmeline said although she is hopeful that the repeal of ObamaCare will lessen the burden of rising deductibles, a program similar to the ACA is necessary.
“My deductible and everything went up, so prescriptions were more because of ACA,” Hemmeline said. “I was scared though because if my mom can’t get a job … We can’t pay for private insurance. But I do think the repeal will make it harder to get health care. I know that for all the things people say about government healthcare, I think it’s helpful for students.”
According to political science professor Joseph Ura, for many students if ACA is repealed changes in health insurance depend mainly on what type of insurance students’ parents are using, especially if students’ parents are self-employed. Furthermore, for students near graduation, shopping for insurance may get trickier as company insurance plans will no longer be required to inexpensively cover birth control or pre-existing conditions.
“There’s another alternative floating around that they’ll repeal it but pass legislation with it’s most popular tidbits, such as keeping kids on [parent’s] insurance and figuring out something for people with pre-existing conditions,” Ura said. “But the problem is you can’t have the pre-existing conditions part without the mandate to purchase part.”
The ACA essentially subsidizes insurance for people with pre-existing conditions and the elderly through mandating universal purchasing of healthcare. By forcing young people, who usually wouldn’t purchase health insurance or would buy inexpensive plans, to buy insurance, the ACA requires healthier people to share the cost of the expensive health insurance of the elderly or people with pre-existing conditions, Ura said.
Ultimately, the question remains whether all the effort to provide access to health care proves worth the cost. Ura said there is an issue of mixing up health insurance and health care for health.
“It’s unclear if people are actually going to get healthier from all of this,” Ura said. “We’re going to spend trillions of dollars over the next couple decades on health care through the ACA, Medicare and Medicaid. But if we focus on health instead of health insurance and health care, we actually make people’s lives better in tangible ways.”

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