Important report from the Center for American Progress, which notes that if Donald Trump succeeds in killing the Affordable Care Act with ACA critic Amy Coney Barrett the swing vote on the U.S. Supreme Court, millions will suffer.
Family coverage, preventive care and that huge category, guaranteed pre-existing condition coverage, will be gone.
The pre-existing condition category has grown exponentially thanks to the pandemic.
Repealing the ACA in the middle of an unprecedented pandemic would create chaos across the entire health care system; weaken the country’s public health and economy recovery; and rip affordable health care coverage from millions of people at a time when access to health care services is absolutely essential.
Before the ACA, insurers could discriminate against people with preexisting conditions by charging people with certain health conditions higher premiums; excluding coverage for services related to those conditions; or denying coverage outright. The ACA protects people with preexisting conditions, including people with disabilities and chronic health conditions, by prohibiting these practices. In addition, it also requires coverage of essential health benefits (EHBs) so that insurers cannot limit benefits to lower costs or discourage people who need care from enrolling in their plans. The ACA also bans lifetime and annual limits so that insurers cannot cap how much they pay for medical care each year or over a person’s lifetime.
The Center for American Progress estimated last year that 135 million nonelderly Americans have a preexisting condition. As the pandemic surges on, every American is at risk of contracting COVID-19 and becoming uninsurable if the ACA is repealed. Already, according to a recent survey, “More than six in ten households where anyone has had COVID-19 (63%) report facing serious financial problems during the coronavirus outbreak.” Without these protections, insurers could discriminate against COVID-19 survivors by increasing prices, limiting coverage, or imposing draconian lifetime or annual limits.
The coronavirus has unknown, potentially long-lasting effects on the health of coronavirus survivors. According to the Mayo Clinic, there are myriad long-term health conditions and disabilities that can result from COVID-19—even if people only had mild symptoms or were young and healthy before contracting the disease. People may have permanent heart and lung damage and may be more prone to stroke, seizures, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease, blood clots, fatigue, and mental health problems, along with a host of potential unknown conditions.