Republicans are rushing to repeal the Affordable Care Act. But first, we need serious answers to some serious questions.
BEFORE WE REPEAL THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT
7 THINGS TO CONSIDER
How many millions of Americans would lose health insurance coverage?
According to a 2016 study 20 million people have gained health insurance coverage because of the ACA (Affordable Care Act).
Would people over 55 have to pay higher health premiums for the same coverage?
Under the current law, premiums for older people can’t be more than 3 times as much as premiums for younger people. But House Speaker Paul Ryan’s plan would let insurers charge older people 5 times as much—significantly increasing health care costs for older people.
Would the new plan let insurers charge women higher premiums than men but offer them less coverage?
Before the ACA banned gender-based premiums, insurers in many states charged women more than men of the same age—some as much as 50% more.
What other services are likely to be cut?
The ACA also required all insurers to cover preventive health services without co-payments. For women, this included birth control, Pap smears, mammograms, maternity care, and more. Republican proposed plans don’t offer these protections. Before the ACA, about one-third of individual insurance market enrollees lacked mental health coverage. One recent Republican proposal required coverage only for hospital, doctor, and emergency care services.
Would the new plan let insurers reinstate annual or lifetime limits on coverage?
Before the ACA, more than 50% of workplace insurance plans had lifetime limits. And “mini-med” policies often imposed annual coverage limits of a few thousand dollars.
What would happen to the more than 130 million Americans with pre-existing conditions?
The ACA requires insurers to cover and not charge higher premiums to people who have pre-existing conditions, like cancer.
How much more out-of-pocket money will those with costly illnesses have to pay?
Critics of the ACA often argue that the law has made health care unaffordable. But many Americans would pay much more without it. The ACA capped out-of-pocket spending at $7,150 for individuals and $14,300 for families for 2017. Republican proposals offer no protection from out-of-pocket spending (high deductibles and other cost-sharing).
REPLACE BEFORE YOU REPEAL
Trump and his fellow Republicans should not repeal our health care law until they have a full replacement proposal that a non-partisan authority (e.g., the Congressional Budget Office and the Tax Policy Center) has determined its effect on health insurance coverage, state and federal finances, and individual tax burdens.
PHONE TO PROTEST RUSH TO REPEAL
Speak with your representatives and senators today. Call 866-426-2631. Ask them to reject efforts to overturn our health care system. We urge phoning, because much more attention is paid to phone calls than to email.
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