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The holiday season is an exciting time of year in my family. As a first generation Haitian and Rwandan American, my Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners are filled with the traditional staples like turkey, stuffing, and gravy — and with some of my favorite dishes, like pâté, beef stew, and sambosas. But it’s not just the delicious treats that makes the holidays exciting.

As is the case with many holidays, my family loves to come together and talk about issues that affect our day-to-day lives. One of those big topics is health care. I come from a long line of nurses (my grandma, my mother, my aunts, my cousins — all nurses), and you can never escape the holidays without your favorite aunty asking, “have you seen the doctor this year?!”

Coming from an immigrant community where we experience higher uninsured rates, Obamacare was a new opportunity for my family to get affordable coverage and to get insured without being discriminated against due to pre-existing conditions.

As an expert on the health care law and my family’s resident “Obamacare whisperer,” I’m preparing to have a lot of conversations with my miryango (Kinyarwanda for “family”) and larger community — who are scared that they’ll lose access to coverage, their children will no longer be able to stay on their plan until 26, and Medicaid will disappear.  As I think about how I’ll mobilize my family and community for the fight ahead, I figure it’ll first be best to answer some immediate questions they’ll have at the dinner table.

Please use this FAQ to have similar discussions at your dinner table.

Q. What happens if the Affordable Care Act (ACA, aka Obamacare) is repealed?

It is important to remember that the ACA is still in effect, just like it has been for over six years, and it will stay in effect unless there is a change in law.

Open enrollment is happening now, and people can sign up for coverage through January 31. Coverage will start on January 1 for those who enroll by December 15. Check out Planned Parenthood Health Insurance Facts if you’d like to find local in-person assistance.

Most people buying through the exchanges qualify for plans that are less than $75, and some people may also be eligible for low-cost or free health insurance through Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

Planned Parenthood’s health center doors are open to everyone — whether you have insurance or not. You can come to Planned Parenthood for the expert, quality care you need, when you need it — with or without insurance. For 100 years, Planned Parenthood has been providing expert reproductive and sexual health care. That’s not changing.

Q. Can I still get an IUD or other forms of birth control for no copay?

Yes. Because the ACA is still the law, birth control like the IUD as well as other forms of FDA-approved birth control are available with no copay.

Also don’t forget: Other preventative care — like well-woman exams, STI testing, and cancer screenings — are also covered with no copay. If you have questions about your birth control option, you can go to PlannedParenthood.org to schedule an appointment with a Planned Parenthood provider.

Q. How can I protect my current health care options?

Right now you have the same health care access and coverage you had before the election. But come the inauguration, there will be fight.

Planned Parenthood health centers will be there for you with expert, confidential, and non-judgmental care. And as we have done year after year, we will be fighting with all our hearts to block harmful policies. It’s up to everyone who cares about reproductive rights to join the fight.


Kaissa Denis is a proud daughter of immigrants and fierce health advocate, who has spent the last four years fighting for health access in communities of color. She is the ACA Program Manager at Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

Tags: Obamacare, Thanksgiving, Elections 2016

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