Soon, the Supreme Court will decide the fate of the Affordable Care Act. But it’s important to remember that there are millions of individuals who have already benefited from its enactment. Old and young people, people we work with, people we worship with and people in our circle of friends who now have affordable healthcare could see it suddenly taken away.
There are roughly 2.5 million young adults around the nation under the age of 26 that can stay on their parent’s health insurance plans thanks to the ACA. This allows them to have health insurance even if they are not being offered plans at work. These young people will lose their coverage if the ACA is struck down.
Millions of older Americans who were unable to afford their prescription drugs once they entered the Medicare donut hole received millions of dollars back to reimburse them for medications. Thanks to the ACA, they get medications at a lower cost. Medicare patients also receive preventive care screenings for free. These older people will lose their coverage if the ACA is struck down.
South Carolina children are protected through the continued funding of the Children’s Health Insurance Program. This expanded Medicaid program will cover over 70,000 of our state’s children starting in July of 2012. It also guarantees that no child can be turned down for health insurance coverage due to a pre-existing condition. These young people will lose their coverage if the ACA is struck down.
Small businesses owners receive a tax credit when they make health insurance coverage available for their employees. Hundreds of thousands of businesses have been able to take advantage of this help. These people we work with will lose their coverage if the ACA is struck down.
Tens of thousands of Americans who were previously uninsured because of medical conditions now have affordable health insurance through the Pre-Existing Conditions Insurance Plans administrated by the states or federal government. These people in our circle of friends who have finally secured affordable insurance coverage could lose it and go back to the status of uninsured if the ACA is repealed.
Finally, thousands of very ill patients who previously lost their insurance because they reached the lifetime cap get coverage under the ACA. But they will once again find themselves uninsured and facing either financial ruin or death. These people we worship with will lose their coverage if the ACA is struck down.
Who loses if the ACA is struck down? All of us. This includes those who are now fortunate enough to feel the benefits, and those of us who would have benefited through affordable coverage and knowing our healthcare needs will be met.
While we wait for the court to decide, we must take inventory of what we have and what we will lose if the ACA is struck down. This is our chance to ensure affordable, quality healthcare for all. We cannot go backwards!
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