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Try as Republicans might to repeal it, the Affordable Care Act has proven that it is not going anywhere. This is due partially to the uproar caused each time a repeal has been attempted. Voters have made their opinions heard--we need affordable health care. 

The ACA’s open enrollment period for 2020 coverage started on Nov. 1 (and continues through January. 31 for New Yorkers), despite Trump’s attempts to sabotage open enrollment. 

So what exactly is the Affordable Care Act? The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (also known as ACA or Obamacare) was President Obama’s landmark legislation. Enacted in March of 2010, the ACA sought out to accomplish three major goals:

  • To make affordable health insurance available to more people. 

  • To expand the Medicaid program to cover all adults with income below 138% of the federal poverty level.

  • To support innovative medical care delivery methods designed to lower the costs of health care generally. 

Possibly the most celebrated accomplishment of the ACA is that insurance companies can no longer deny you coverage because of a preexisting condition. 

One of the campaign promises Donald Trump ran on was to repeal the Affordable Care Act. His base, though many of whom are beneficiaries of ACA, wanted to find any and every way to dismantle President Obama’s legacy, even if it meant stripping affordable health care away from millions of Americans. While all the attempted ACA repeals have been defeated, the Trump administration has still created many hurdles to accessing the ACA. One, is a complete lack of advertising, and two, offering a very limited and intentionally confusing enrollment period. 

Additionally, the Trump administration is seeking to implement a regulation to dissuade insurance companies from providing abortion care coverage under their plans. Specifically, the Trump-Pence administration is seeking to force insurance companies that offer abortion coverage to bill patients through two separate transactions, one for abortion coverage and the second for the remainder of the health plan. The intent? to make insurance providers less likely to cover abortion care at all. 

One of the most significant mandates within the ACA was the mandate that required that companies cover the cost of contraceptives in their coverage. This mandate has saved women a total of $1.4 billion in out-of-pocket contraceptive costs. However, in 2017, Trump rolled back on that mandate and provided companies an option to opt-out of this mandate based on religious beliefs or moral convictions. 

Since it was passed in 2010, over 55 million women have benefitted from the Affordable Care Act. Prior to ACA being passed, 40% of low-income women were uninsured. Since 2010, this percentage has lowered to 17%. The ACA has allowed women to access preventative care that they were unable to have covered before. Care like breast and cervical cancer screenings, breastfeeding services and supplies, contraceptives, STI and HIV screenings, and preventative gynecological visits, all without a co-pay. 

Health care should be a right for all, not a privilege afforded to the wealthy. Being uninsured means living in a state of constant fear of not just an accident or diagnosis occurring, but the cost of seeking care. Alternatively, the stress that drowning in medical bills causes is often enough reason for folks to opt-out of care. It is unacceptable that the wealthiest nation in the world has so many of its citizens living with this fear and falling into a cycle of illness because it is cheaper than the alternative. It is very telling that conservative forces are out to dismantle access to affordable health care. 

If you are uninsured, just know that there are options for you. While national enrollment closes on December 15th, New York, along with 5 other states and the District of Columbia, will have open enrollment until January 31st. To enroll, visit nystateofhealth.gov today and find the coverage that works best for you.  


Tags: Obamacare, health, New York City


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