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The benefits of Obamacare

For 25-year-old Kati McFarland, a woman from Arkansas battling Ehelrs-danlos syndrome, Obamacare may mean the difference between life and death. She is merely one of many Americans who depend on the Affordable Care Act and will lose part of their medical insurance when it is repealed.

Due to the severity of her condition, McFarland will die without continued medical care, particularly the “coverage for pre-existing conditions” enumerated in the Affordable Care Act. Commonly referred to as “Obamacare,” the act, among many other things, prohibits insurance companies from denying health coverage to those with pre-existing conditions. And while Obamacare is by no means the perfect healthcare system that Americans want, it has been able to provide affordable healthcare to a higher number of Americans than any other program to date.

An important number to remember is 17.1 percent — the percentage of uninsured Americans in 2013 before the implementation of Obamacare, according to CNN. At the end of 2016, that number dropped to around 10.9 percent, according to Gallup. In short, tens of millions of Americans that didn’t have health insurance before now have the security they need to get treatment if they become ill or injured.

Many of those who became insured as a result of Obamacare were young people. The Affordable Care Act has allowed children to stay on their parents’ plan until they reach the age of 26. Within California, as the Orange County Register points out, about 8 percent more children have also been able to get insurance through Obamacare’s Medi-Cal expansions.

Of course, Obamacare has its problems. Premiums in some states are rising and there has been an increase in taxes, but these are problems that can be addressed and solved head on — by increasing government subsidies or increasing the penalty for refusing health insurance to balance the amount of healthy and sick people in the insurance pool, without getting rid of the whole system. Despite its flaws, Obamacare has helped to insure tens of millions of Americans. It has made sure that 19-year-olds don’t lose their health insurance just because they can’t stay on their parent’s plan anymore. And it protects Americans like McFarland. Americans do not deserve to die because they were denied the basic right to getting health insurance.