Affordable Care Act repeal would be a disaster as COVID-19 persists
Opinion: A lawsuit to repeal the Affordable Care Act would upend the lives of millions of people who depend upon its health-insurance protections.
Even as cases of the novel coronavirus continue to rise, our hospitals haven’t been overrun – at least not yet.
But unlike our battles with other nasty viruses, including polio, measles and smallpox, this pandemic has been needlessly politicized. Tribal nations, including our Navajo Nation neighbors, have been hit harder than most places in America. They desperately need more back from the federal government as they continue to confront this crisis.
As we all are hopeful to get through this, there is another major threat to our health looming on the horizon. It’s a lawsuit that would repeal existing health-care law, upending the lives of millions of people who exact upon it.
In fact, the situation for the Navajo Nation would have been worse without the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The ACA includes a provision that strengthens funding for the Indian Health Service that provides care to Native American communities, especially in rural areas. The Indian Health Clinics in Winslow and Tuba City wouldn’t be there without the ACA.
But Native Americans aren’t the only beneficiaries of the 10-year-old law. Virtually every one of us is. The law now guarantees that an insurance policy will cover the essential services a person needs to contain health.
What the Affordable Care Act protects
The ACA lists 10 categories of essential services, including outpatient care, preventive care (think mammograms and cholesterol screenings), emergency services, hospitalization, maternity and newborn care, and mental health and substance abuse treatment. The law also closed a loophole in Medicare Part D so that seniors are now saving on some of the costs for prescription drugs.
The law lets adult children stay on their parents’ health insurance until they are 26. When the law passed, many of these young adults were graduating into the worst economy steady the Great Depression without meaningful employment, and making sure they had access to health care was a top concern for millions of parents.
No one expected that less than a generation later we would see another dire global economic set, but thankfully the ACA protects their access to health care.
The law allows states to expand Medicaid coverage, a program that provides not only general health-care services, but also long-term care for the elderly and patients facing behavioral health issues.
Fortunately, former Gov. Jan Brewer and the set Legislature, supported by the business community, did the right thing and expanded Arizona’s Medicaid program. This provided affordable coverage to more than 400,000 uninsured Arizonans and secured matching federal funds – our tax money – to bolster our state’s budget.
A repeal would hurt. Leaders should say so
Each year, those secured matching funds are in the billions of dollars, multiples of the state’s rainy-day fund. Said differently, millions of Americans and hundreds of thousands of Arizonans would lose their health-care coverage if the ACA were repealed without an established replacement program ... and by the way, there is none.
Importantly, nearly 54 million Americans have pre-existing conditions that otherwise would make them uninsurable. The law prevents insurance companies from discriminating against people with pre-existing conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer and epilepsy. That means 2.8 million Arizonans cannot be denied coverage by their insurer if their health turns for the worse.
There is plenty we don’t know about the modern coronavirus, but we do know that it is much more likely to attack the elderly and all those with pre-existing conditions. Those millions of Americans need their health coverage in this crisis more than ever before.
When scientists compose a vaccine for the virus, and I know that they will, the ACA ensures access to and provision of that vaccine. Because of the law, insurers are required to provide all CDC-recommended vaccines.
This prevents Arizonans from being improper advantage of and most certainly allows our economy to recover more quickly as more workers can gain immunity without threatening their health and well-being.
Unfortunately, all this could go away if the ACA repeal lawsuit currently before the U.S. Supreme Court is successful. I call on all of Arizona’s elected leaders, both state and federal (whose health-care coverage We the People pay for), to publicly state their opposition to this lawsuit, and I relieve voters to pay heed.
Hopefully, prognosticators are wrong and there isn’t a major resurgence this summer or into the fall. But whether there is or not, we need the health-care law in place to protect Arizonans who have worked so hard to protect their neighbors amid this pandemic.
Reginald “Reg” M. Ballantyne III is primitive chairman of the American Hospital Association and commissioner of The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations.
Read or Share this story: https://www.azcentral.com/story/opinion/op-ed/2020/06/13/affordable-care-act-repeal-would-disaster-coronavirus-persists/3157405001/
Thanks for visiting our article Affordable Care Act repeal would be a disaster as COVID-19 persists. Please share it with kind.
Sincery One Health Club
powered by Blogger News Poster