I'm sitting here trying to understand how we got here. Because of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), 20 million more Americans have health insurance.

I am one of them.

And yet our elected representatives are voting to repeal it. Scratch that. Republicans are hell-bent on doing so, while Democrats are fighting tooth and nail to prevent such an irresponsible decision from being made.

What I can't understand is why they are so excited to repeal it. I understand that premiums went up (mine did), and that insurance providers are dropping out of the Marketplace in some areas, but those reasons are not good enough to repeal, especially without a replacement in mind. Doing so is incredibly reckless, and quite frankly, childish. What it says to the American public, especially those who are against the ACA's repeal, is that Republicans don't care about anything other than winning, or sticking it to President Obama and the Democrats.

The question is, Why repeal when you can just modify it? Are they really that angry at the Democrats? Do they really hate President Obama that much?

The only other reason I can think of for wanting to repeal it, beyond wanting to win and stick it to the Democrats, is that people must not truly understand what the ACA is, or how it benefits them.

Do they know that health care provided under the ACA guarantees them to coverage of the following ten essential health benefits (Sec. 1302)?

  1. Ambulatory patient services
  2. Emergency services
  3. Hospitalization
  4. Maternity and newborn care
  5. Mental health services and addiction treatment
  6. Prescription drugs
  7. Rehabilitative services and devices
  8. Laboratory services
  9. Preventive services
  10. Pediatric services

Do they know that it prevents insurance companies from discriminating against them because of pre-existing conditions (Sec. 2704)? This is so incredibly important. It means people with preexisting conditions, in general, can get coverage, and that those with preexisting conditions can switch jobs without having to fear changing insurance providers.

Do they know that preventative health services and immunizations must be covered (Sec. 2713)? These are absolutely covered. No co-pay. No cost-share. Covered.

Do they know that these insurance companies are not allowed to cap reimbursements, not annually or lifetime, for essential benefits (without really good reason) (Sec. 2711)? This is HUGE! Imagine that you, or a family member, get really sick, or into a bad accident. Your bill goes into the hundreds of thousands, possibly millions. And yet, your insurance coverage will still kick in.

Do they know that the government itself does not provide insurance? Many Republicans cried socialism when the ACA was passed. Maybe some still do. But Healthcare.gov is just an exchange portal where individuals can shop around for plans that are best for them. The US government does not provide health insurance like they do in the UK and other European countries. Yes, insurance companies are more regulated as a result of the ACA, but to the benefit of the people (see some examples from above).

Do they know that it doesn't provide health insurance to illegal immigrants? I've signed up, twice, and you have to provide documents proving your citizenship. If you can't do so, you cannot continue.

Do they know that the ACA is about more than insurance? For example,

  • It promotes better communication between doctors, hospitals, and pharmacists
  • It requires that all medical records be recorded electronically instead of on paper
  • It promotes better coordination between your primary care doctor and any specialists you see
  • It requires background checks of all nursing home staff, which prevents abuse of seniors

I have not heard a single Democrat say that the ACA was perfect, or that it couldn't stand to be improved upon. So why don't Republicans want to work with Democrats to make it better? Why are they looking to scrap such life-saving piece of legislation, one that ensures that the 20 million Americans insured through the Marketplace get to keep their health insurance? Why is revenge on the Democrats, which is how it comes across, so much more important than the health of those they serve?

If the ACA gets repealed and people lose their health insurance, there will surely be some who die as a result. And Congressional Republicans will be to blame. How they can live with that on their conscience, I do not know.

**This entire article is written under the assumption that those voting against the ACA also know that it is the same thing as Obamacare. Not everybody does, and that's embarrassing.

Published by Alix Collins