Repealing ACA would leave millions without insurance

Published 11:33 am Tuesday, December 13, 2016

NC News Network

RALEIGH – Politicians on both sides of the aisle would admit that there is room for improvement for the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the Health Exchange, but a growing number of Republicans are calling for repeal of the legislation.

While starting over sounds logical to some, a new report from the Urban Institute finds that would come at a significant cost to millions of Americans.

Rob Thompson, senior policy and communications adviser for the advocacy group NC Child, says eliminating coverage for the million in North Carolina that would be impacted could be catastrophic.

“If a million people in our state lose health coverage, it’s going to have a dramatic impact on their financial security as parents, as individuals, as families, because we know that health care coverage can be extremely burdensome for families,” he states.

According to the report, the number of uninsured people would more than double to 59 million by 2019. Additionally, 82 percent of the uninsured would be working families.

In North Carolina, there would be a 90 percent increase in the number of uninsured, and families receiving tax credits under the ACA would lose almost $7,000 a year in assistance.

Joan Alker, executive director of the Center for Children and Families at Georgetown University, says it’s important that citizens pay attention to what is being proposed in the new year in Washington before it’s too late.

“Congressional leaders are moving very quickly to try to do this in January as soon as they return from the holidays so people are not aware that this could happen so quickly and also they’re not aware of the consequences,” she points out.

Thompson says with news of rising premiums and insurers pulling out, attention needs to be paid to the program, but lawmakers shouldn’t scrap it altogether.

“Anyone would be open to having a conversation about ways to improve upon the law that we already have,” she states. “What we think is completely irresponsible is repealing a law that has provided millions of people across this country with health insurance, without any sort of plan about what to do to ensure those people stay covered in the future. “

Opponents of repealing the ACA point out that Congress has voted numerous times to repeal the act, but in six years have yet to agree on a replacement.