Guest post from ICAN
The Iowa Main Street Alliance small business owners and others who depend on the ACA for health care released a new Health Care for America Now (HCAN) report that details the impact of repealing the ACA on individuals and on Iowa’s economy.
Iowa small business owners from across the state call on the Iowa Congressional Delegation with the message: “Don’t Take My Health Care.” They urge elected officials to reject the Republican Congressional plans to repeal the ACA, block-grant Medicaid and privatize Medicare, referring to compiled data from the “A Cost Too High” report as evidence that these proposals cost too much and put Iowan’s health and economic security at risk.
“The ACA is Comprehensive Healthcare Insurance which was not available to me when I decided to become self-employed 16 years ago, said Susan Boardsen, a self-employed healthcare professional from Clinton, said. “I had no pre-existing conditions but only health insurance I could find was a non-comprehensive catastrophic plan. I purchased it…just in case…never needed to use it but always wondered if I did would I had been rescinded. Bringing back risk corridors, which were quietly removed by Rubio, in a spending bill in 2015 caused some premiums to increase.
“I have no employees, I am self-employed and hope I follow most of my female ancestors and won’t need healthcare in a ‘big way’ until my 80’s,” she continued. “I do feel there is a problem in which workers are telling employers they can only work x hours or they will lose their healthcare. This is a huge problem and does not endear employers to this expansion of healthcare if they are unable to work full-time although many would like to work full-time.”
Over 42,000 Iowans depend on the ACA for their health care with another 146,000 covered under Medicaid expansion. Repeal takes away coverage from these people and does away with provisions that protect patients with pre-existing conditions from being denied or charged more for coverage. Repeal would also end coverage for young adults who elect to stay on their parents’ insurance plan until age 26 and eliminate no-cost preventive care for people of all ages.
“I would be very concerned if women are treated differently than men when determining health care costs,” said a small business owner from Western Iowa. “I would be very concerned if the cost of medicare increases. I would be very concerned if there are any cuts to medicare or medicaid. I would be very concerned if coverage for mental health is dropped. Leaving children on until age 26 was very helpful. Coverage of Mental Health care is very helpful. Coverage in spite of pre-exiting conditions is very helpful. No maximum limit is very helpful.”
Under the Republican repeal bill, according to sources detailed in the report, 42,595 people receive subsidies toward coverage available in ACA insurance exchanges. Many families also receive support to cover cost-sharing, such as co-payments. The loss of this combined support will cost each recipient an average of $4,281 in 2019. Additionally, Medicare enrollees in Iowa benefit from lower prescription drug costs thanks to the ACA. The elimination of this price protection will cost those Medicare enrollees an average of $957 a month.
Along with repeal, Republican proposals to cap or block grant the Medicaid program and to privatize Medicare for seniors would also have dire consequences on people and states.
“I have worked in health care since 1984,” said Mary Kemen, MD of Hakeye Anesthesia, said. “I have seen first hand how individuals suffer when they have no means of paying for health care. Emergency department care is not comprehensive, cost-effective or equally available to all people. It is also not free; patients are billed by hospitals for this care. I cannot point out often enough that the people who legislate health care coverage for everyone else have federally insured, comprehensive medical access for life. They are in no position to judge the severe health, financial and emotional price paid by families with no insurance or coverage. Their decision-making in this process makes clear that they are deaf to the consequences or just do not care.”
Iowa Main Street Alliance is a project of Iowa Citizen Action Network. Our members are small business owners/ entrepreneurs/ farmers from across the state who are dedicated to giving a voice to small business.