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Affordable Care Act will have widespread implications

Posted: January 18, 2017

It’s important for all people of faith to get the facts about the Affordable Care Act. This piece of legislation has given over 20 million Americans access to healthcare through healthcare exchanges and the expansion of Medicaid and Medicare. Congress is discussing legislation to dismantle it. What are some of the key components of the legislation? It allowed parents to extend coverage to adult children until the age of 26. It barred insurance companies from dropping or not offering policies to people with pre-existing conditions. “It would jeopardize the health care of over 744,000 Minnesotans with pre-existing conditions.”1 The Affordable Care Act also expanded coverage for Medicare and Medicaid.

What is the potential impact on people in Minnesota? “According to the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, 380,000 people could lose health insurance and Minnesota could lose $16.4 billion in federal funding with the repeal of the ACA.”2

The Affordable Care Act is not without its critics. Many have been concerned about the cost of the program. An important question to ask elected officials, “What will replace it?” Another key question is, “When?” As these discussions begin, it’s also important to ask if there is no new plan, “What will those who lose coverage do for health care?” “What is the impact on the health care providers, hospitals, doctors, etc.?”

Beyond cost, as people of faith, it is important to consider the question of dignity. What is it like to deal with the worry of a sick or injured family member and to try to get medical care without health insurance? You may be wondering what you will do. What if you have a pre-existing condition or were previously treated for something catastrophic? These are also important questions for us to ask. Where does preventative healthcare and wellness fit into this discussion? What about access to mental health care? Extended coverage for young adults has created a bridge for young adults who are uninsured.

Pope Francis has spoken repeatedly on a, “Just Economy” that includes everyone. If you are concerned about these issues, reach out to Minnesota Representatives Erik Paulsen and Tommy Emmer. They will be voting on these issues in the coming days.  

                                                                                               --Maura Schnorbach

1. The data was compiled by CMMS (Medicaid) and the Kaiser Foundation (Medicare). Isaiah Minnesota is a leading justice advocacy organization. It held a conversation with elected officials on December 20, 2016 to express concerns about health care in Minnesota. The article is called, “Organizations Challenge Plans to Cut, Gut Healthcare for 2.4 million Minnesotans”, 1/17/2017. To read the entire article, http://isaiahmn.org/2017/organizations-challenge -plans-to-cut-gut-healthcare-for2-4million-minnesotans/. 
2. Ibid