Repealing the ACA will have wide-ranging effects, not many of them good. For starters it will eliminate the Medicaid expansion which provides health care to those who are not able to afford health care insurance. Eliminating this expansion will immediately cut off access to affordable health care for millions. This will have negative effects on the disabled, less fortunate and the most vulnerable in our society.
Another effect of repealing the ACA will be to eliminate the subsidies on the ACA exchanges.These subsidies, available to those earning less than 400 percent of the FPL, provide access to affordable health care insurance for millions of self-employed, under-employed and those not yet eligible for Medicare. These people are all hard-working, taxpayers, who because of employment choices or lack of employment opportunities, do not have access to an employer-sponsored plan. Eliminating these subsidies will make health care insurance unaffordable for millions of people.
Another effect, which is less talked about, is the various protections the ACA provided. These protections ensure that health care policies meet certain basic coverage requirements. These basic requirements are coverage of prescriptions, annual checkups, pre-existing conditions, diagnostic tests, emergency room visits, and many others. These protections ensured that policy holders were covered for the most basic of health care services in the event of an unforeseeable health event.
Before passage of the ACA it was very common to have common procedures not covered. It was not uncommon to have an emergency room visit that was not covered by insurance, forcing you to pay hundreds or even thousands of dollars. It was not uncommon to have coverage rescinded because of a diagnosis of a catastrophic illness such as cancer or diabetes, in fact, insurance companies had whole departments dedicated to that process.
Repeal of the ACA will be catastrophic for millions of Americans. It will not make access to health care more affordable and accessible, it will decrease access and increase costs, both short-term and long-term. I recommend every one contact their members of congress and urge them to not support a repeal of the ACA without an acceptable replacement.