Pre-Existing Conditions clause must not be repealed

By WINDY ORTEGA, BRITTANY MONAHAN, JORDAN GRUSCHOW and TODD FLEMING
On December 3, 2018

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons, Wikipedia

We are currently master’s in social work students at Ramapo College. In our social policy class, we have learned about the details of the Affordable Care Act and are writing to express our commitment to advocate for this essential law to stay in place.

While we believe improvements are needed to ensure high-quality health care is affordable for all Americans, we cannot afford to make a mistake that will lead to the loss of health care for our constituents.   

We know there is more to do to improve the health care system in our country and agree that there are serious challenges that must be addressed. We have supported changes and improvements to the Affordable Care Act to ensure affordability and access for more Americans and have been ready and willing to work with anyone to improve the existing law for our constituents.

The American people deserve a constructive conversation about improvements we know need to be made to our health care system. Any proposed changes must protect the parts of law that have helped our constituent’s access critically needed health care.  

As individuals lose health coverage, we would also expect to see a return to high uncompensated care costs, which would burden state and local governments and health care providers. Constituents in rural and underserved urban communities would be particularly hard hit given the economic importance of hospitals, federally qualified health centers and clinics in many small towns.

People who have pre-existing conditions such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease could face new challenges in obtaining coverage and affording their care, as repeal would endanger the popular protections now provided to them in the insurance market.

Repealing the ACA would hamper our ability to combat the opioid epidemic by taking away access to substance abuse treatment from millions of Americans.

We are also concerned about the impact of repeal on Medicare beneficiaries. The ACA included provisions to improve Medicare benefits by providing free coverage for some preventive benefit. These provisions included screenings for breast and colorectal cancer, cardiovascular disease and diabetes while closing the coverage gap in the Part D drug benefit by 2020.

In addition to taking away coverage for seniors and families, undermining the health care system through outright repeal would hurt our economy.

Since AmeriHealth and United Healthcare took over, healthcare providers have been underpaid or not paid at all for the services they provide to Medicaid recipients. These complaints continue today. Since privatized Medicaid, some clinics have had to take out loans to cover payroll as they await payment for services.

When our healthcare providers are weakened by non-payment for their services, it threatens all of us who rely on our providers to be there when we need them. If they can’t get paid for their services, how can they stay open?

If you care about a strong health care system and access to healthcare providers in rural counties, support the party which wants to fix this disastrous privatization of Medicaid. We remain committed to improving the ACA, and we urge you to work with us now in order to increase affordability for families, protect communities, help small businesses and continue important protections for the most vulnerable.  

As briefly mentioned previously, the Pre-Existing Conditions protection clause is essential. As a nation, it would be devastating to lose this provision. There are millions of Americans with pre-existing conditions that rely on affordable health insurance, their lives literally depend on it.

Americans with chronic illnesses rely on affordable health coverage to ensure that they are able to afford their daily medications, as the cost can be substantial. No one should be unable to access treatment for medical conditions. Access to health coverage is essential to health and overall well-being, and should be available to all despite economic circumstances.

 

wortega@ramapo.edu

bmonahan@ramapo.edu

tflemin2@ramapo.edu

jgruscho@ramapo.edu


 

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