Access to Healthcare: What's at Stake?

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Legal Services of Southern Piedmont works to ensure access to quality, affordable health care through its individual casework, class action litigation and systemic advocacy.

There are a lot of changes to our country’s healthcare system in the proposed replacement to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) passed by the House of Representatives.

How the ACHA Could Affect Mecklenburg County Residents

Congressional Budget Office Score of AHCA

As advocates for low income families, LSSP is concerned about the impact this legislation would have on many of our clients.

If signed into law, this bill would:

  • Drastically reduce financial assistance to help low-income and working class people pay their premiums. Under the proposal, tax credits are not tied to the actual cost of plans. Even worse, the bill completely eliminates the ACA’s financial assistance which lowers out of pocket costs, like deductibles. Millions of people will see premiums and deductibles increase by hundreds to thousands of dollars.Who Stands to Lose? Martha, Darlene, Hugo and Sarah Kelly
    Martha Brawley ACA NYT oe4-darlene-hawes-5-lo-res
    Hugo Ramos OE4 1 OE4 Sara Kelly Jones 1
  • Eliminate the requirement that insurers cover “essential health benefits” like regular screenings, check-ups, maternity and newborn care along with prescription drug coverage.
    lana-rubright-4Who stands to lose? Lana has had health insurance through the ACA for the last four years as a small business owner:“Last June, I went for my regular mammogram, where they detected stage 2b invasive ductal carcinoma– breast cancer. If I had to pay out of pocket, I probably wouldn’t have chosen to have those tests. I had two surgeries to have the cancer removed, and for the last three months, I have undergone chemotherapy, which I wouldn’t have been able to get without Obamacare.Cancer is overwhelming. Having Obamacare has given us peace of mind over the last six months. To feel like you’re not bankrupting your family with medical bills is a huge relief. We would probably be losing our home right now if I didn’t have this coverage.Since the election, I’ve had a lot of sleepless nights worrying that I won’t be able to finish my treatments. For the rest of my life, I’m going to be getting scans and checks, and hopefully, they will all be negative. How can I wake up each day and go to work knowing that every dime I make is going to maybe pay for one scan? Or the medication? I don’t want to be a burden to my family. There’s never a good time to get sick, and the emotional toll is high enough that cost shouldn’t
    be the final blow. I’m doing what I can each day. I’m sharing my story because I want people to know that having health insurance makes a difference.
    Regular screenings saved my life.” 
  • Increase premiums for seniors. The bill would allow insurers to charge seniors as much as five times more for coverage than younger people for the same coverage. The combined impact of the bill’s reduction in financial assistance and increase in premiums would leave many older members of our community uninsured with no affordable coverage options.Who Stands to Lose?  Ken, the Roseboro family
    Courtesy of Charlotte Observer

    Courtesy of The Charlotte Observer

    Last year, Ken retired from his job directing traffic at construction sites. He and his wife live on their fixed social security incomes. Ken is not yet eligible for Medicare and relies on coverage through the marketplace to see his doctors and fill his prescription medications. Under the new health plan, Ken’s insurance company would be allowed to charge him significantly more than he is paying now. He would also receive $11,024 less per year in financial help, putting access to care completely out of reach. Ken and many others will be forced to choose between paying for healthcare and medications or other household expenses.

    Roseboros (Observer photo)The Roseboros are cancer survivors who have always had health insurance. Before the ACA, they were paying about $1,000 per month for retirement coverage which they could no longer afford. LSSP helped them enroll in a plan for $14 a month that includes their doctors and allows them to continue receiving check-ups. Under the AHCA, their costs would rise steeply, and the Roseboros would be eligible for a maximum of $10,500 per year in assistance for their family of 3. The AHCA provides $4,000 per year for people age 60+ and $2,500 for people age 30 to 39.

     

  • End the Medicaid program as we know it by capping federal funding by transferring the program’s costs and risk to the states, causing reduced access to coverage and benefits   This radical restructure would harm the more than 20 million low-income children, pregnant women, adults, seniors, and people with disabilities in North Carolina who rely on this program in their daily lives.Paired with the White House proposed budget, the AHCA will cut $1.4 trillion from Medicaid over 10 years, jeopardizing access to healthcare for those who need it most.Who stands to lose? Geraldine, the Nowell Family and Margot
Geraldine Stewart FSHC (web)Newell Family FSHCMargot Woods FSHC

In the coming months, LSSP will continue to advocate for those who currently do not have access to the care they need and for those who stand to lose it.

National Media Highlight LSSP Clients

LSSP client Martha featured in coverage from The New York Times and Good Morning America will see a 60-percent decrease in financial assistance from the government for the same coverage under the new health plan. She also just learned that she has an autoimmune liver disease that will cost much more to treat than the $3,500 a year the new health plan will provide to cover her insurance costs.

ACA GMA Martha Brawley Screenshot flat ACA NYT Martha Brawley Screenshot

What you can do:

Contact members of your Congressional delegation in the House of Representatives and Senate and share your concerns about this bill. Follow up with them after key votes to let them know you intend to hold them accountable.

Quick Facts on the AHCA

Encourage friends and family members with ACA coverage to make their voices heard in the deliberation process. Now is the time to speak up and advocate on behalf of your healthcare.

Share your story with Keep NC Covered

Attend events on healthcare and other policies that affect LSSP’s clients.

Follow LSSP on social media and sign up for our Action Alert emails and newsletter to stay updated.

Make an investment in your community and support our work by donating to LSSP.

More resources:

#CoverageMatters: Stories of Coverage through the ACA

ACA vs AHCA: Premiums and Tax Credits in Your State

NC Justice Center Health Advocacy Project

Who wins under AHCA?

Five Ways the GOP Health Bill Would Reverse Course From the ACA

How Medicaid Spending Varies in Each State