Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Report Shows Big Losses for PA if Affordable Care Act Is Repealed

Andrea Sears, Public News Service

An estimated 82 percent of those who would lose health coverage if the ACA is repealed are in working families. (James Gathany, Judy Schmidt, USCDCP/pixnio.com)
An estimated 82 percent of those who would lose health coverage if the ACA is repealed are in working families. (James Gathany, Judy Schmidt, USCDCP/pixnio.com)
HARRISBURG, Pa. – Almost a million Pennsylvanians would lose their health insurance with even a partial repeal of the Affordable Care Act, according to a new report. Congressional Republicans say repealing the ACA will be high on their agenda in the coming year. But a new study shows that, nationally, a partial repeal would increase the number of uninsured people by almost 30 million by 2019, compared to leaving the ACA in full effect.

Joan Alker, executive director of Georgetown University's Center for Children and Families, said that would apply to children as well.

"The number of uninsured kids would double if Congress takes away health coverage by repealing the ACA without first doing the hard work of negotiating a replacement plan and 'stapling' it to that same bill," she said.

The report by the Urban Institute said in Pennsylvania, some 956,000 would be without health insurance, a difference of more than 130 percent.

And according to Alker, more than 80 percent of those who would lose their insurance are in working families.

"The majority of those are non-Hispanic whites, and 80 percent of the adults becoming uninsured would not have college degrees," she added.

The report also found that with the elimination of the Medicaid expansion, premium tax credits and cost-sharing, federal spending on health care would drop by $109 billion by 2019.

But Aiker pointed out that, though insurance may be lost, families' health-care needs won't go away.

"And the responsibility for responding to that will fall squarely into the states' laps, and we'll have huge gaps in our health-care safety net," Aiker explained.

The report estimates that an ACA repeal would cost Pennsylvania alone $36 billion in lost federal Medicaid and Children's Health Insurance Program dollars over ten years.

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