Many self-employed artists have come to rely on the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, for comprehensive, fairly-priced heath insurance. The following article from STAT, a national publication focused on finding and telling compelling stories about health, medicine, and scientific discovery, written by cancer survivors Ben Fishman and Jen Campisano, explains why the GOP proposal to repeal the ACA (and perhaps, down the road) replace it with a plan that requires coverage of pre-existing conditions isn’t enough. The authors argue that the new insurance plans must also be both comprehensive and affordable. “The two of us are fortunate to have been well-covered by health insurance at the time of our diagnoses,” they report. “We did not have to choose between lifesaving care or bankruptcy — one of the goals of the ACA.”
Here is an excerpt from their compelling article:
Republicans in Congress have started the process of repealing the Affordable Care Act despite great uncertainty about what might come next. As cancer survivors in our 30s, we are all too familiar with life’s uncertainties. That is why we are especially attuned to policies that would adversely affect the 22 million Americans who gained coverage under Obamacare, and specifically the 27 percent of the non-elderly adult population with preexisting conditions who would have been excluded from receiving health coverage before the ACA.
President-elect Donald Trump and the GOP supposedly intend to keep the provision of the ACA that guarantees health insurance coverage to those with preexisting conditions. But without a replacement plan on record, there is no way to determine whether any so-called guarantee would provide them with equal and affordable coverage.
Specifically, individuals like us are wary that a replacement plan may force insurers to cover everyone but let them create other mechanisms that limit coverage for those most in need, such as imposing annual or lifetime maximums that would cap total expenses paid by insurance plans. The costs of our treatment illustrate why this is a dangerous proposition for many people with preexisting conditions….
People like us are not the only ones concerned with an immediate move to repeal Obamacare without a clear plan for a replacement. Major hospital groups have warned against a quick repeal because of the immense revenue losses they would incur if 22 million people were to lose their coverage. This week, the American Medical Association, representing doctors around the country, issued a similar warning. And even conservative health policy analysts have said that a repeal and delay strategy “carries too much risk.”
We agree with Republican Senator Lamar Alexander, who chairs the Senate’s Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, when he says “we need to figure out how to replace it before we repeal it.” We hope that Senator Alexander and others will hold hearings so the estimated 52 million non-elderly Americans with preexisting conditions can voice the real-life impact of returning to a world where they would be denied coverage or face annual or lifetime maximums that would cover only a fraction of their lifesaving care.
Read the entire article here. Make sure to contact your government representatives to let them know how you feel about the reckless GOP proposals to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
CAP has something similar at acaworks.org.
About the authors: Jen Campisano is a mom and patient advocate writing about her experiences with stage 4 breast cancer at www.boobyandthebeast.com. Ben Fishman is a member of the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship’s Policy and Advocacy Team.
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