There has been a lot of discussion in the news lately about repealing and replacing Obamacare. The Affordable Care Act has also come up a lot in those discussions. Unfortunately, it’s not always clear during the discussions that these are the exact same law. It’s important to raise awareness of this issue, especially among people who don’t frequently follow politics or news “inside the beltway.” The main reason is the Affordable Care Act, hereafter referred to as ACA, is known for a lot of things people like while “Obamacare” tends to be associated with all the things people don’t.
Here are some of the things people don’t realize they’re benefitting from which would no longer be required by law if the ACA, also known as Obamacare, was repealed:
- Free Preventative Services for Women – This includes things like wellness care, gestational diabetes, and contraception.
- Can’t Refuse to Cover Someone Based on a Pre-Existing Conditions – Used to be that you couldn’t get health coverage if you had certain medical conditions. This is particularly relevant to those of us with children who have genetic conditions and other chronic ailments!
- Balanced Premiums – Before this law was passed the cost of insurance for people with pre-existing conditions was frequently significantly higher than even upper-middle-class families could afford – if you could find someone to cover you at all.
- Insurers Must Spend 85% or More of Premiums on Medical Care – This law changed the long-standing practice of minimizing payouts to maximize profits for insurance companies.
- Consumer Reports – Insurers are required by this law to present information in a standard format making it practical to compare benefits between plans. Before the ACA, also known as Obamacare, it was common for people to believe they were covered for things like emergency room visits only to find out when they needed the emergency room that wasn’t the case.
Whether or not you support the law it’s important to know that these two laws are the exact same law. Understanding the good and the bad of the law as a whole – Washington Insider jargon aside – will help you make an informed decision about whether or not a repeal of the law is in your and your family’s best interests. Once you understand what the law is all about then I encourage you to call your representatives and make your desires known! Four quick recommendations before you begin:
- Know what you want to keep! If something is in the ACA you need then don’t hesitate to tell your congressman to repeal it AND keep the thing you need in whatever replaces it!
- Approach anything anyone in the Washington establishment tells you with extreme caution – from both parties.
- If you want to keep the ACA but want it changed then let your congressman know that too. The ACA is good in some ways and not so good in others just like any large piece of legislation. There are some minor changes both parties would like to make that would improve the law if they can keep the minor things from being caught up in the larger fight.
- If you like the ACA the way it is – still say something. The squeaky wheel gets the grease as the saying goes.
Decent healthcare is a cornerstone of successfully caring for a child with medical needs. If no other political discourse interests you for the rest of the year this is important enough to be the one thing you research and follow. I don’t want to tell you what to think. Everyone is coming from a different place on this issue and it’s important you advocate for YOUR best interests. I just want you to have the information you need to understand the issue and advocate for yourself and your family.