Don’t repeal the ACA without replacing it
Posted on 12/12/16
Nearly 1 million Ohioans could lose their healthcare if the Affordable Care Act is repealed
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has made a huge difference in the lives of millions of Americans. Some of the changes are nearly invisible but widely used, such as the provision that allows children to stay on a parent’s plan until they are 26 and financially on their feet, or the one that prevents a cancer survivor from being locked out of health coverage. Ohio’s Medicaid expansion and the health care exchanges permitted nearly 1 million residents to get health coverage, allowing them to see a doctor for chronic diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure, asthma, and other common yet serious illnesses. As a result, as a people, we are healthier and more productive.
For 20 years, the Universal Health Care Action Network of Ohio (UHCAN Ohio) has worked to improve everyone’s access to affordable quality healthcare. The ACA has made great strides in that direction and today 94 percent of Ohioans are insured. President-elect Donald Trump plans to repeal it within the first month after being sworn in. The problem is, there are no plans for replacement.
When he proposed it in 2009, President Barack Obama faced harsh opposition to the ACA from Congressional Republicans and some Democrats. Drug companies and the insurance sector pushed back hard. In 2010, Ohio Senator Rob Portman campaigned on a platform calling for its repeal.
Today, that repeal is on a fast track. There must be no repeal without a replacement plan that details how the new Administration and Congress will protect health care in America. I’d like those calling for repeal to explain what they would do instead and to answer the following questions:
- Do you have a plan that makes sure a family with a child suffering from cancer can get affordable insurance?
- Does your plan prevent an insurer from saying it paid too much for your wife’s treatment and now you have to shoulder the rest of the bills?
- Where is the plan that keeps women from having to pay more for insurance than I do?
- Will your alternative plan provide preventative care so people can stay healthy?
- Does your plan extend Medicare funds?
- Will your plan keep the 20 million people who got coverage under the ACA insured?
The only plan that does these things now is the ACA. Before Congress throws it all away, they need to present something better. We have fought too hard and come too far to lose ground now.
Let’s not have it all be for naught. Members of Congress need to hear from the people they represent. Tell your representative that everyone deserves affordable healthcare and the ACA should not be repealed without a better plan. For Ohioans, the most important person to contact is Senator Rob Portman. During his 2010 and 2016 Senate campaigns Senator Portman said he opposed the ACA and wants it replaced. The question is: with what? We hope it’s something that upholds the most popular provisions of the ACA and keeps nearly 1 million Ohioans covered. Our health depends on it.
– Steven Wagner, Executive Director, UHCAN Ohio