However, there is a LOT more to the ACA than just the insurance mandate and the marketplaces. The ACA includes provisions that directly and seriously affect everyone with a chronic illness. We may soon find it difficult - if not impossible - to get affordable health insurance from any source. If you think health insurance is expensive under the current system, just wait.
You can read an easy-to-understand summary of the full Affordable Care Act on the HHS website. Pay particular attention to the items under "New Consumer Protections" and "Increasing Access to Affordable Care." Here are a few of the many provisions of the ACA that directly affect those of us with chronic illness:
- Children with pre-existing conditions may not be denied coverage.
- Insurance companies may not rescind coverage (there used to be a practice of dropping someone for a minor technical issue when they got sick and tried to use their insurance).
- ACA eliminated lifetime limits on insurance coverage.
- ACA eliminated annual limits on coverage.
- Consumers can appeal decisions made by the insurance company.
- Even citizens with pre-existing conditions will be guaranteed health insurance coverage.
- Young adults can stay on their parents' insurance plans until age 26.
- Limits on insurance companies' rate hikes.
- Linking Medicare payments to hospitals with their quality of care - the better their patients fare, the more money they can make.
- Prohibiting discrimination based on pre-existing conditions or gender.
So, what can you do to stop this seemingly unstoppable action? Well, the new President and Republican-controlled Congress are determined to repeal the ACA. But to do so without anything to replace it is irresponsible. They are pulling the rug out from us - and millions of other sick Americans - with only promises that there will be a replacement. We can ask that this process is slowed down and that a replacement is created as soon as possible...preferably before the ACA is officially repealed.
I heard there are 5 Republican Senators who are already in favor of slowing this process down so that it is done right. I have written to these 5 Senators by e-mail to let them know how the ACA affects us, and how its repeal with no replacement would be devastating to us. You can, too. Here are links for e-mailing the 5 Senators or you can call their offices (though I have heard people are having trouble getting through):
Senator Bob Corker, TN - (202) 224-3344
Senator Lisa Murkowski, AK - (202) 224-6665
Senator Rob Portman, OH - (202) 224-3353
Senator Susan Collins, ME - (202) 224-2523
Senator Bill Cassidy, LA - (202) 224-5824
While you're at it, send that same e-mail to your own Senators & Representatives! They will be hard at work on this issue for the next week, so let them know how the ACA affects you and the urgent need for a replacement with many of the same provisions. I found these e-mail addresses just by typing the name, Senator or Representative, and e-mail into a search engine.
Here is the note that I sent to all five (and am now sending to my own Representative (Delaware only has one!) and Senators. Please feel free to copy whatever parts of it apply & then add in your own or your family's experiences & situation. You note doesn't have to be long (I tend to be long-winded!) - just let them know you are here and that heir actions will dramatically affect your life.
We may be sick and often (or always) housebound, but we can still let our voices be heard!