For decades, there’s been a debate about whether and how the US should make health insurance available to all Americans.

What’s the issue?

Doctor’s visits, prescription drugs, imaging tests, surgeries…. Health care is expensive. So expensive that a health emergency can put a family into bankruptcy. For some low-income Americans, there’s Medicaid. But many who don’t qualify have taken the risk of going uninsured. Until Obamacare.


Catch me up on that.

The goal of the Affordable Care Act was to make it easier and cheaper for people to get health insurance. It did this in part by giving states the option to expand Medicaid coverage, putting the pressure on insurance companies to cover a fixed amount of services, and installing an “individual mandate” that requires most people to have health coverage or else pay a fine. President Trump? Not a fan. He promised to “repeal and replace” Obamacare with something better. That hasn’t happened. But as part of Congress’s tax overhaul last year, they scrapped the individual mandate.

What does the right say?

It’s the economy, stupid. This is another big, expensive, entitlement program that is driving up healthcare costs, hurting economic growth, and killing jobs.

What does the left say?

Around 28 million people in the US still don’t have health insurance. We have a responsibility to make it affordable for them. We started to do with that with the Affordable Care Act. That was great — but now, we’ve got more work to do to expand quality, affordable healthcare coverage to uninsured Americans. We also need to fight the GOP efforts to get rid of Obamacare.

What can my elected reps do?

— It’s up to states to decide whether or not to expand Medicaid coverage — some states are trying to set up work requirements for people to qualify for it. Your state legislators vote on that. Governors can sign or veto it

— Pay attention to your ballot: A few states have launched ballot initiatives to try to force a vote on the topic

Your House and Senate reps are pretty much the gatekeepers to whether or not Obamacare stays or goes. Last year, efforts to repeal Obamacare failed… just barely. So, Congress can have a big impact

— State attorneys general represent their states’ interests. Earlier this year, 20 states filed a lawsuit arguing that Obamacare is illegal. TBD how things turn out


Health care is a vital lifeline to millions of Americans — and a very personal topic. Check out which candidates you think will promote the best outcome for you.

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