Worried About the Repeal of Obamacare? So Are We. Here’s Why.

Next week, members of Congress will head home to their districts and states for a weeklong recess.  Those brave enough to face their constituents while they are home shouldn't be surprised to find that one of the Republican majority’s top priorities — repealing the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare — is far from popular.

The ACA has played a significant role in ending policies and practices that discriminated against women, LGBT people, people with disabilities, and racial and ethnic minorities.  It made health care coverage and access fairer and more equitable, and it has helped preserve the life and liberty of millions of people across the country. 

Now, the millions of people who have come to rely on the ACA are making their voices heard at townhall events around the country, urging their representatives not to dismantle this lifesaving law. 

Perhaps you’re one of them. Or perhaps you know someone who is. However the law has impacted you, here are just a few of the many reasons to stand up for the ACA:

  • The ACA prohibited insurers from charging women more than men simply because they are women, a discriminatory practice known as “gender rating” that was common prior to the ACA.  Ending this discrimination has lessened the disparity in coverage rates between women and men. Under the ACA, 9.5 million previously uninsured women gained coverage. And the law guaranteed that their plans would cover maternity and newborn care, which were excluded from most individual plans before the ACA.  
     
  • The ACA improved access to Medicaid’s long-term services and supports and expanded the Home and Community Based Services programs. These changes have allowed people with disabilities, who would otherwise languish in nursing homes and psychiatric hospitals, to move into a community where they can work, play, and live, integrated with the rest of society.  These services have helped end some of the segregation and institutionalization of people with disabilities that was once rampant and debilitating. Without these services, the right to liberty and autonomy of people with disabilities would be severely undermined.
  • The ACA expanded access to a wide range of birth control services by ensuring that they were covered in every health plan without cost-sharing. We know that increased access to birth control is critical to women’s equality, enabling them to pursue education and careers, to plan whether and when to have children, and to lead full, healthy lives.  The ACA also made sure that a host of other women’s preventive services — like annual wellness exams, breastfeeding support, and STI testing and counseling — were fully covered by insurance plans.
  • The ACA contains the first ever federal civil rights provision prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sex, in addition to race, color, national origin, age, or disability, in certain health programs and activities. This provision, Section 1557, has been especially critical in protecting access to reproductive health services for women and preventing discrimination against LGBT people. And equally important, this provision did not include religious exemptions that would have undermined the very purpose of the nondiscrimination provision. 
     
  • The ACA put an end to insurance companies disqualifying millions of people from insurance due to preexisting conditions. Before the ACA became law, insurers could discriminate against a woman who had a cesarean section, breast cancer, pregnancy, and even treatment for domestic violence on the grounds that these constituted preexisting conditions that disqualified her from coverage.   Similarly, if an individual had a disability or chronic condition, they could be denied enrollment or specific benefits based on that preexisting condition.

Today, these gains and protections are at risk. And that is unacceptable.

Up to 32 million people could lose coverage as a result of ACA repeal. Discriminatory policies could be reinstated and would almost certainly threaten the care that women, people with disabilities, and LGBT people need to live lives that are healthy and free. 

That’s why the ACLU will fight against repeal of the ACA.

Speaker Paul Ryan has said that Republicans will release their ACA repeal bill after next week’s recess.  It’s expected that the bill will also defund Planned Parenthood. An entirely separate blog could be written about just how devastating the impact of this would be — but, in short, it would block Medicaid patients from using Planned Parenthood health centers, cutting off their access to preventive care services like breast exams, cancer screenings, STI tests and treatment, and birth control.  As a result, Planned Parenthood health centers, which 2.5 million people rely on for care every year, may be forced to close their doors.  This would have a disastrous impact on health care access, particularly for women and low-income people, across the country—particularly when combined with the impact of ACA repeal.

We can’t let this happen. If you agree, make sure that your members of Congress hear from you.  Next week, they’ll be in the neighborhood.

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Anonymous

Liberals are idiots. Obamacare is finished. Its about time. Too bad libs!!!

James Linthicum

Unsympathetic coward. Real people on both parties do need Obama care. We went so far to make healthcare fair for everyone, and now bullies like you want it taken away? It just goes to show you how much you take your freedoms for granted. One day YOU will be in need of easy Healthcare, and you'll be sorry for your arrogant attitudes.

Jeremy Engdahl-...

Here are questions that should be considered as proposed healthcare legislation is formulated. Find more here: https://www.healthcaretownhall.com/?p=8394#sthash.uUSHV0kP.dpbs

Anonymous

Thank you for your work, which has been lifesaving for me.
Planned Parenthood and City Clinic was my only means of any medical care for years, since my scoliosis and part-time jobs precluded me from affordable health insurance premiums once they skyrocketed. I have a BA degree but was not able to find full-time work until this last year and ironically now I will find myself back in the sliding-scale or emergency-room system. It was a wonderful 2 years of feeling like a middleclass US citizen - but I suppose I am prepared to go back to waiting in line for health care. So very unnecessary and disheartening.

Vanessa

I’m actually really tired of such an important issue that impacts every American being stamped as “belonging” to either party. ! I think it's time we start taking our healthcare back because it is not ObamaCare or TrumpCare, it's OurCare! We should all have a say in the next round of healthcare reform talks. Policy-makers need to develop new healthcare laws based on our recommendations. I encourage everyone to have their say by visiting www.ourcarebill.org.

KT

The site ourcarebill.org is operated by an insurance brokerage corporation, healthmarkets.com. (Likely for-profit?) Their survey does not mention some obvious possible components of modified-ACA or TrumpCare. Notably, they do not mention a "public option" for ACA ... or single-payer for that matter. Ourcarebill.org appears to be guiding the discussion for its own benefit.

Anonymous

I am a 74 year old widow living on a fixed income and am the sole caregiver for my adult disabled son (Down syndrome) who has significant medical issues.

I know there are many other elderly people like me who are caring for their disabled adult children and we worry a lot about what will happen when we can no longer provide support.

My son is a very nice, kind person and it means a lot to him to be able to live at home in a normal environment . As he has preexisting medical issues it is important that his insurance will pay for medical care from compassionate medical providers.

Thanks to Obama Care I was feeling assured that there would be supports available for him when I am no longer able to provide for my son's care. If the proposed health care act passes, my son will no longer be able to live independently when I am no longer able to be his caretaker. The irony is that the kind of service the act will provide will be for the very costly institutional model.

Apparently the authors of this proposed health care have never had a member of their family with a disability or have known anyone struggling to pay expensive medical bills.

My husband died after a failed stem cell transplant and even though we had insurance we still had to use up the proceeds from the sale of our home, and most of our savings to pay for costs not covered. We were fortunate, as I know of many people whose medical bills forced them to declare bankruptcy.

I have never heard Trump, Ryan or others in the inner circle acknowledge the needs of the vulnerable. I get the impression they believe that being poor could be prevented if people had more ambition. People with disabilities and the elderly seem to make them feel uncomfortable. Not going to happen to them.....

From, a very worried senior and mother of a disabled adult son

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