Here's Why the Affordable Care Act Is So Controversial | History

- In March of 2010, President Barack Obama

enacted the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare,

in an effort to make health insurance

more affordable and more accessible to all Americans.

By the time Obama came into office,

using legislation to improve access to health care

wasn't a new idea.

The earliest form of private health insurance

emerged in the late 1800s as industrial sickness funds,

giving payments to dues paying members were forced out of work

due to illness or injury.

By the beginning of the 20th century,

many European nations had enacted health care programs.

Progressives in the United States

sought a similar program with their candidate, Theodore

Roosevelt, in 1912, but he lost the presidential election

that year.

In the 1930s, FDR passed the Social Security Act,

which gave government payments to people

who had to stop working due to illness or injury.

In 1944, Congress passed the veteran's readjustment act,

which expanded public health care

to many millions of ex-service members after World War II.

In the 1960s, Lyndon B Johnson signed Medicare and Medicaid

into law, and the government began

providing subsidized health care to elderly and low

income Americans, respectively.

Other presidents, including Harry Truman in the 1940s,

Richard Nixon in the early 70s, and Bill Clinton in the 1990s

tried to pass health care reform,

but private insurers fear that government

subsidized insurance would impinge on their business.

When Barack Obama became president in 2009,

'45 million Americans were uninsured.

A growing number of American employers

had cut health insurance from their benefits.

The growing costs of medical care

became a lead cause for personal bankruptcies, foreclosures,

and family crises.

So the new president made health care reform his chief mission.

In February 2009, just one month after his inauguration,

Obama delivered a speech to Congress

announcing his administration's push for reform.

Even though Obama and his fellow Democrats

controlled Congress and the White House,

the reform efforts were delayed, as members

of Congress debated how much of a role

the government should have in health care.

After many compromises, the ACA finally

made it through Congress, and Obama signed the law in 2010.

The immediate goals of the ACA were to make health insurance

available to more people, while also making health care cheaper

and expanding the Medicaid program,

though only some states opted into that expansion.

To put the ACA to work, the federal government

created a health care marketplace,

which is a service that allows Americans

to shop for and enroll in an affordable health insurance.

The ACA also created government standards for minimum services

that must be covered by private insurance plans

and stopped private insurance from denying

or charging people more based on preexisting health conditions.

In 2014, an individual mandate went into effect which required

Americans to pay a penalty if they decided not

to buy a health insurance plan.

Through these provisions, the ACA managed to achieve

many of Obama's goals.

By 2016, nearly 20 million previously uninsured

people had acquired health care.

Despite that accomplishment, some

have criticized Obamacare for the individual mandate penalty,

and the government regulation of what

they see as a private industry.

By 2014, Republicans in the House of Representatives

had already voted more than 50 times

to repeal the measure, only to be blocked by the Senate

each time.

Obama's successor, President Donald Trump,

campaigned on repealing Obamacare,

and signed an executive order to allow

the sale of cheaper health insurance policies

with fewer benefits.

He also signed a tax bill that repealed

the individual mandate clause.

While the debate continues over the best methods of increasing

American access to health care, the ACA remains a pivotal piece

of legislation in our history.