Well, there they go again. Presidential candidates Scott Walker and Marco Rubio have now outlined their plans to replace the ACA, repeating tired myths like the law has increased costs for consumers. While both candidate statements omit critical details, it’s clear that either proposal would be a disaster for consumers. And their rhetoric can deter consumers from exploring the new options for affordable coverage that are available.
Both proposals would repeal a law that has enrolled over two million New Yorkers, lowered costs by an average of 50% in the individual market, set higher standards for health plan quality, and reduced the chances that consumers will be stuck with massive medical bills. According to the Roosevelt Institute’s Richard Kirsch, this would have grave impacts at the national level. The country would “return to the days when insurance companies could deny coverage or charge higher premiums because of a pre-existing condition, charge women more for health insurance than men, and stop paying claims when people have high-cost illnesses.”
Both plans would force millions of people off Medicaid immediately and take away coverage from millions of young people who are on their parents’ plans, according to the Kirsch post. And the Walker plan would allow health insurance to be sold across state lines, threatening a “race to the bottom” in which states compete with each other to attract insurers by loosening consumer protections. New Yorkers could lose the hard-won consumer protections that our State has put in place over many years.
While attacks on the ACA have been less frequent in the past few months, the Walker and Rubio initiatives and continuing proposals in Congress to repeal or cut back the ACA make it clear that the law is not politically out of the woods yet. As New York State begins its third Open Enrollment period, health advocates need to practice how to explain the many benefits of the ACA in New York, and how to debunk the myths that continue to circulate. Thankfully, as the latest Kaiser tracking poll data indicates, the law is now finally supported by a clear majority of Americans, as more and more get covered or know someone who did.