On January 12, 2017, Senate Republicans approved a budget blueprint, allowing them to take down the seven-year-old Affordable Care Act with next to no threat of Democratic filibuster.
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has helped millions of Americans gain health care coverage by barring insurance companies from denying plans due to pre-existing conditions and by providing subsidies to the poor to purchase coverage needed.
According to the Fitzsimon File by Chris Fitzsimon, released by the NC Justice Center, 1.3 million people with serious mental illnesses will lose health care coverage if the ACA is repealed and 2.8 million people with substance abuse disorders would be subject to the same loss of coverage.
According to The Commonwealth Fund, economic impacts have been calculated to include a $140 billion loss in federal funding in health care in 2019, along with the loss of 2.6 million jobs with the private sector, being the most affected demographic across all states. More major losses include people no longer able to afford health insurance without the federal subsidies provided under the ACA.
Interim Director of the UNCG Student Health Services staff, Kathleen Baber, has expressed her feelings on the ACA as positive and also expressed that the health of UNCG students is her foremost priority, despite the lack of students taking advantage of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield student insurance program than the time prior to the ACA.
“The Affordable Care Act is a complicated issue,” Baber said.
“The ACA has made health care coverage available to millions of Americans who would receive little to no medical care otherwise…Prior to ACA, millions of Americans received what little health care they received through emergency room visits…Many lived in fear of a health crisis because they could not afford coverage or had pre-existing conditions that made it difficult to secure insurance coverage,” said Baber, when asked about the effects of the ACA on the general populace.
With the ACA, they could secure needed coverage regardless of pre-existing conditions.”
The subsidies that have been placed in many states due to the ACA, especially the states that have expanded Medicaid, have made health coverage affordable for many low income individuals.
Hospital executives across NC are worried about a new plan to replace the ACA with, and though President Trump has said that he would like to replace the ACA with something “far less expensive, but far better.” However, no further announcements have been made other than Tom Price being announced as the president’s new Secretary of Health.
Replacing the ACA has been found, in many cases, to be a costly possibility, requiring policymakers to retain several of the ACA’s offsets to reduce the cost inflicted on the American people.
Though the budget blueprint does not require the president’s signature, Trump congratulated the Senate on its decision and wished it the same luck in the House of Representatives.