What Happens if Obamacare is Struck Down: Part 2
This is Part 2 of "What Happens if Obamacare is Struck Down".
If you've been paying attention to the news lately, or simply not living in a cave, you've probably already heard about how the Trump administration once again desperately wants to get rid of Obamacare (a.k.a. the Affordable Care Act). But this time all of it--not just certain parts, as they've tried to repeal in the past. Trump and his supporters want to completely wipe out this law that has helped millions of people get the healthcare they need during the nine years of its existence, deeming the Affordable Care Act (ACA) "unconstitutional."
For more information, check out NPR's article: "Trump Administration Says Entire Affordable Care Act Should Be Repealed".
So what might this mean for those of us Americans needing access to quality and affordable healthcare (which is everyone, I would argue)? What could happen to RA and chronic illness patients if Obamacare is indeed struck down? The scenarios are pretty scary and bleak if you ask me. In Part 1 of this article, I mostly discussed the role of Medicaid as part of the ACA and what might happen if millions of people lose it--including myself. But another huge and crucial part of the ACA is the protections it provides for patients who have pre-existing conditions.
Impact on pre-existing conditions like RA
According to an article in the New York Times ("What Happens if Obamacare Gets Struck Down?"), as many as 133 million Americans--roughly half of this population under age 65--have pre-existing medical conditions that could disqualify them from buying a health insurance policy or cause them to pay significantly higher premiums if Obamacare were overturned.
Right now, under the ACA (Obamacare), nobody can be denied coverage under any circumstance. In the New YorkTimes article, the Kaiser Family Foundation estimated that "52 million people have conditions serious enough that insurers would outright deny them coverage if the ACA were not in effect." That's 52 million people without access to health care! The reasons for denial would most likely be extensive, with people being denied for a long list of health conditions, including even common ailments such as high blood pressure, asthma, obesity (severe), pregnancy, diabetes, and the list goes on (via Kaiser Family Foundation article).
Having rheumatoid arthritis (RA), I would absolutely get denied coverage for a commercial, individual health insurance policy, as would everyone else with this disease, if not for Obamacare and the protections that are in place for people with pre-existing conditions. Many (maybe all?) of our expensive medications would also get denied. So where would that leave us? Being forced to go without medical care that is crucial to us living normal lives? Getting buried beneath thousands and thousands of dollars of debt to pay for medical costs? Living our lives trapped in a wheelchair, dealing with unbearable pain and disability?
People need affordable care
I can clearly remember the days before Obamacare, when health care costs kept rising, including monthly premiums, as more and more businesses and companies decreased the benefits they offered to their employees. It was a hugely broken system of "care" and getting worse. Anybody who argues that healthcare before Obamacare was better, needs to take a close hard look at the recent past.
Over the last nine years, the Affordable Care Act has given so many people a chance to finally afford to get the medical treatment and care that they need. Taking that away and bringing us back to living (and suffering) in a society where people are essentially punished for having diseases that they did not choose to get wouldn't be fair. It also wouldn't be humane.
Have you gotten the COVID-19 vaccine yet?