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Fix it, Don't Ditch It

March 23, 2017 | Medi-Cal, Legislation Watch
AB 1671

Thanks to the Affordable Care Act:

  • My best friend can get affordable health insurance despite having a "pre-existing condition."
  • My partner was able to try three different birth control methods, free of charge, until she found one that didn't give her terrible side effects.
  • I was able to stay on my parents' health insurance through the age of 26, which allowed me to get surgery while I was in between jobs instead of waiting until I got a job and having to take 3 weeks off work.
  • I had the security of health insurance and mental health care through Medi-Cal after I left a toxic workplace and went unemployed for five months while I struggled with depression.

I've since found employment at my dream job. My employer doesn’t offer health insurance though, but thanks to the Affordable Care Act, I was able to conveniently buy health insurance that fit my needs at an affordable price.

That’s my Affordable Care Act story, but I know I am not alone.

I also take seriously the concerns about the loss of healthcare providers in rural areas under the Affordable Care Act. I come from a mostly rural state and long line of farmers, and have spent the past 5 years working on farms and on behalf of farmers across the country, so know from firsthand knowledge how much of rural America’s towns and economies have been in decline. Adding diminished healthcare options to that already challenging economic/cultural reality sucks.

That’s why I am so disappointed with the Republican healthcare plan. Instead of fixing the problem, it will make it worse.

24 million people are projected to lose health insurance under their plan. That’s 1 in 13 Americans. And that’s according to the Congressional Budget Office, which is a nonpartisan entity currently led by a Republican-appointed conservative economist who previously served in the Bush administration.

Making matters worse: lower-income, older voters in rural parts of the country stand to lose the most in healthcare aid under the Republican plan. Among those hit the hardest are 60-year-olds with annual incomes of $30,000, particularly in rural areas where healthcare costs are higher and Affordable Care Act subsidies are greater.

The only people who are sure to benefit from their plan are those making more than $200K (individuals) or $250K (couples), who will receive two tax breaks.

We’ve all heard “repeal, repeal, repeal,” for 8 years now. But if this is the best they could come up with in all that time, then perhaps it’s time to reconsider fixing the ACA instead of ditching it.

I imagine it must be difficult to swallow one’s pride and come up short on 8 years of empty promises, but for the sake of 24 million Americans, including so many rural poor and middle class and elderly folks that Republicans represent, Republicans need to #FixItNotDitchIt.

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