Repealing Obamacare = Millions Without Health Care

“On Friday [January 20, 2017-Inauguration Day] as one of his first official acts, Trump signed an executive order that would allow officials to minimize [Obamacare’s] economic burden...The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the repeal of Obamacare could result in 18 million Americans losing their health insurance in the first year after the law is overturned—and could leave more than 30 million people without coverage in ten years.” B. Coombs, CNBC

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

House Minority Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif

Excerpt: Obamacare enrollees worry about what comes next By Bertha Coombs, CNBC

Before Obamacare, Alex Travison went without health insurance for years. After getting laid off from GM more than a decade ago, he couldn’t afford the coverage.‘I didn’t have any major health issues in that time, but I did have to see my doctor every so many months, to get my prescriptions filled for my high blood pressure,’ said Travison, during a recent visit to his doctor’s office at the Venice Family Clinic in Los Angeles.

Alex Travison

Now, with government subsidies, he pays about $50 a month for coverage on an exchange plan, an arrangement he said has worked well for him. However, he’s worried he’ll lose his coverage if the Trump administration and Republican Congress make good on their promise to repeal the Affordable Care Act.  ‘I’m a 64 year old man and things happen very quickly sometimes with your health, he explained. I believe that to take away these benefits from us at this (time) borders on criminal.’

It’s a concern the staff at the Venice Family Clinic is hearing a lot this month from the low-income patients they see here.‘Our patients are very concerned about… their health insurance in the future,’ said Liz Benson Forer, CEO of the Venice Family Clinic. t’s very important that there be some stability in this system as this discussion goes forward.’

Photo: In These Times

The president and Republicans have promised their replacement plan will be able to provide wide access to coverage and will be cheaper, by offering more options. Republicans want to provide an a la carte menu, with more cheaper, skinnier plans for people who don’t consume a lot of health services, and a standard health insurance tax credit for everyone — regardless of whether they get insurance through their employer or buy it on their own.

Yet for people who require a lot of care and prescriptions, health insurance consultant Carolyn McClanahan says that kind of shift will require careful planning.

‘The big thing they’re going to have to think about if they have a chronic illness, [is] their ongoing expenses are going to be pretty extensive, so they need to have a lot of money set aside,’ said McClanahan.”

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

NOTE: Lessons can also be used with native English speakers.

Level: Intermediate – Advanced

Language Skills: Reading, writing, and speaking. Vocabulary and grammar activities are included.

Time: Approximately 2 hours.

Materials: Student handout (from this lesson) and access to news article.

Objective: Students will read and discuss the article
with a focus on improving reading comprehension and learning new vocabulary. At the end of the lesson students will express their personal views on the topic through group work and writing.

I. Pre-Reading Activities

Stimulating background knowledge: Brainstorming

Directions: Place students in groups, ask students to think about what they already know about  Obamacare.  Next, have students look at the pictures in the text and generate ideas or words that may be connected to the topic. Debrief as a class and list these ideas on the board. Students can use a brainstorming chart for assistance.

II. While Reading Activities

Word Inference

Directions: Students are to infer the meanings of the words in bold taken from the article. They may use a dictionary, thesaurus, and Word Chart for assistance.

  1. Travison went without health insurance for more than a decade.
  2. Now, with government subsidies, he pays about $50 a month for coverage.
  3. It’s very important that there be some stability in this system.
  4. Republicans offered assurances that the current administration was committed to maintaining health care.
  5. It is estimated that 20 million Americans have gained coverage under the ACA.
  6. According to the current administration nobody is interested in pulling the rug out from under anybody.
  7. It’s absolutely imperative that all individuals have health care.
  8. There are no details on how the administration would achieve that objective.
  9. People who have a chronic illness need to have a lot of money set aside.
  10. It says in our Declaration of Independence ‘life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness’ is for all people.

Reading Comprehension: Word -Recognition

Directions: Students choose the correct word to complete the sentences taken from the article. They are to choose from the options presented.

“The president/precedence and Republicans have promiscuous /promised their replacement plan/plans will be able to provision/provide wide access/success  to coverage and will be cheap/cheaper, by offering more options/opinions. They liken/like Obamacare to a big fixed-price buffet, with its record/required preventive health/help benefits/befits for every plan and tax subsidies for low-income Americans.”

 Grammar Focus: Structure and Usage

Directions: The following groups of sentences are from the article. One of the sentences in each group contains a grammatical  error. Students are to identify the sentence (1, 2, or 3 ) from each group that contains the grammatical error.


  1. People is worried they’ll lose their coverage.
  2. Patients are very concerned about their health insurance.
  3. That is not our goal, nor is it our desire.


  1. The administration offered no details for an replacement.
  2. Obamacare helped many people.
  3. Republicans want to provide a different plan.


  1. They are also proposing bigger tax deductions.
  2. There are people who require a lot of care and prescriptions.
  3. Many people will need to have a lot of money sit aside.

III Post Reading Activities

WH-How Questions

Directions: Have students use the  WH-question format to discuss or to write the main points from the article.

Who or What is the article about?

Where does the action/event take place?

When does the action/event take place?

Why did the action/event occur?

How did the action/event occur?

Comprehension /Writing

Directions: Place students in groups  and  have each group compose a letter or note to a  person mentioned in the article telling her/him their thoughts on the topic. Share the letters as a class.


Directions: Allow students 5 minutes to write down three new ideas they’ve learned about the topic from the reading,  two things they did not understand in the reading, and one thing they would like to know that the article did not mention. Review the responses as a class.


Category: Health Issues