Health care is a daily news topic. With Republican Members of Congress and the President working to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA), many aspects of health care have been brought into question recently, for example, what constitutes as a pre-existing condition, increased coverage for veterans, and who is covered by Medicaid, among others. Today we will provide a snapshot of the impact of the proposed health care changes.
A pre-existing condition is considered a medical condition that started before a person’s health insurance coverage began. Before 2014, when the ACA’s pre-existing condition consumer protections went into effect, some insurance companies would not only deny coverage to people with pre-existing conditions, but even if you were able to get a policy, that policy might not cover your pre-existing condition for a specific period of time, or at all.
The various Republican plans to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) have not done enough to retain protections for people with pre-existing conditions, which could increase health care costs and potentially limit coverage for an estimated 130 million Americans. And this is a very low estimate, when you consider that an insurance company can designate anything from acne, to allergies, to high blood pressure, to obesity, as a pre-existing medical condition. If you think that broadly, most people in the U.S. have some sort of pre-existing condition.
Coverage for Veterans
Under the Affordable Care Act, coverage for veterans has improved greatly. According to the Urban Institute, the expansion of Medicaid to adults with incomes up to 138% of the federal poverty level (FPL) in more than half the states and the establishment of health insurance marketplaces with income-based financial assistance subsidies, expanded the health insurance options available to veterans.” In just the first two years after these ACA coverage options become available, the uninsured rate of nonelderly veterans dropped about 40%.
If these veterans lose these ACA options for coverage, Time.com writes, “This would likely leave the thousands who do not qualify for VA care without coverage at all, as insurance becomes unaffordable without the ACA’s subsidies. Hundreds of thousands of spouses and children could also lose coverage.”
Who is Covered By Medicaid
The latest Congressional proposal to reform our health care system (BCRA) would make severe cuts to the Medicaid program, potentially leaving millions without health insurance coverage. Who gets Medicaid now? Many groups in our society who need the greatest protection, including seniors, individuals with very low income levels, people with disabilities, and children. Many states have very high numbers of children covered by Medicaid. For example, in North Carolina, nearly 96% of children have health insurance. A little under half of those children have Medicaid.
Stay tuned to our blog for the latest information about changes to our health care system and other cancer survivorship issues.