What Happens if Obamacare is Struck Down: Part 1
President Trump is back with a vengeance, once again trying to repeal Obamacare a.k.a. the Affordable Care Act, (ACA) and all of the health care protections and provisions the act has provided for millions of Americans during the last nine years since it became a law. The Trump administration wants all of the ACA overturned by the courts, arguing that the statute is unconstitutional.
Completely abolishing the ACA, which provides several millions of people with healthcare along with lesser-known yet important protections, would have a huge impact. So what happens if Obamacare is struck down? What would we RA and chronic illness patients be faced with as Americans living with expensive pre-existing conditions? The possibilities are truly frightening.
According to a recent article in the New York Times, "Some 21 million Americans could lose health insurance if the Trump administration were to succeed in having the law ruled unconstitutional." And millions more could face much higher medical bills. I would certainly be one of those people to lose coverage and have skyrocketing health care costs--and that's a terrifying thought.
Medicaid to help with RA-realted healthcare costs
One of the main parts of the ACA that affects my life, in very extensive and profound ways, is my ability to qualify for and use Medicaid benefits to help pay for my healthcare costs, along with my commercial insurance plan. Thanks to Obamacare, in 2016 I qualified for Medicaid and since then I've used it as supplemental, secondary insurance to help cover my very expensive out-of-pocket costs that my primary insurance does not cover. For nearly three years now, Medicaid has literally been saving my life. And I'm not alone.
According to the article,12 million adults could lose Medicaid coverage if the Trump administration has its way and does away with the ACA. Studies have found that Medicaid expansion has led to better access to preventive screenings, medications and mental health services. Losing this free or very affordable coverage would mean worse access to care and most likely worse health for those affected.
So why get rid of it? Why on earth cause even more suffering to 12 million adult Americans? This doesn't make sense to me, and in fact is downright cruel to hurt people when they're already down (most people struggling financially also struggle with other things in life, I would argue). But the Trump administration, along with many people who support Trump and the Republican Party, seem to find no problem with cutting funding and taking away protections from the people who truly need the help.
Worried about losing coverage
As I already mentioned, Medicaid has been saving my life since I first qualified for it in August 2016. Before Medicaid assistance, I was continually racking up thousands of dollars in medical debt each year in order to pay for my health care. Rheumatoid arthritis, frustratingly, is an incredibly expensive disease, with the high costs of medications, treatments, surgeries, and overall care often leaving patients drowning in insurmountable debt. Or, RA patients are forced to make decisions about going without the care they need in order to afford living a normal life. The disability and destruction that this can cause to a person and their family is appalling. It's also grossly unfair.
When I think about the possibility of losing my Medicaid assistance I feel sick to my stomach with worry. And I feel sickened with disgust, that so many politicians (and their supporters) don't seem to care how this would devastate people's lives. Today, I am still struggling to climb out of years of massive debt that living (and being sick) in a pre-Obamacare society caused.
I shouldn't be punished for being sick with a disease I had no control over getting. Nobody should. I wish the people playing these dangerous political games would understand this.
Has having RA put a hold on your ambitions?