“Who cares?” was House Speaker Paul Ryan’s reply to a question from Scott Pelley on a 60 Minutes segment after Trump tweeted lies about the election.
The question “Who cares?” must be applied to the impact the repeal of the Affordable Care Act by the president-elect and Republicans will have on the lives of our fellow Americans.
***“Who cares” about people who were denied coverage for pre-existing conditions?
My Mom was a small business owner in northern Wisconsin and was the hardest worker I have ever known. One of her young employees was ill for several months with pleurisy. This employee’s family did not have health insurance. Mom paid for many of the employee’s medications and other medical expenses. Mom’s example of “collective responsibility” for others is an example of “Who cares?”
Mom’s health insurance company dropped her after she had surgery. Mom finally found an insurance company that provided minimal coverage due to the pre-existing conditions. The premiums went sky high and continued to increase. More than once, Mom would wonder how she would be able to pay the high premiums that provided minimal coverage. After Mom was on Medicare, she continued to struggle paying for the supplement.
After the ACA was signed by President Obama in 2010, insurance companies could no longer deny coverage for pre-existing conditions. Insurance companies could not discriminate against women by charging them more than men for the identical coverage.
***“Who cares” about people who filed for bankruptcy because they got sick?
One of my friends worked 50 to 60 hours a week while giving back to his community. This friend became ill with a rare disease that wasn’t diagnosed for several years. He lost his job and his insurance coverage and spent his retirement and life savings paying for his care. He filed for bankruptcy, lost everything, and died in abject poverty. Medical expenses often cause financial ruin as was the case with my friend.
***“Who cares” about people with chronic life-threatening diseases and disorders?
An inspirational, can-do friend was born with a progressive genetic disorder. This young friend is the perfect example of courage and determination.
After the ACA was signed, this friend no longer faced annual and/or life time limits on coverage set by the health insurance industry. This friend would be covered despite pre-existing conditions and would not be discriminated against because of a genetic disorder.
Hundreds of family members, friends, volunteers, and community members “care” and come together to raise funds to find a cure for this disorder.
***“Who cares” that the lives of Wisconsinites will be thrown into chaos with the repeal? This includes:
224,208 Wisconsinites who now have coverage through the ACA. 190,542 Wisconsinites receive a tax credit averaging $332 a month. Many of the people receiving subsidies live in the poorest counties of the state. The uninsured rate has dropped 39% since the ACA was enacted.
1,084,854 Wisconsinites on Medicare. The ACA strengthened the Medicare Trust Fund. Through the ACA, Medicare recipients benefited from lower prescription costs. Eight million beneficiaries saved over $11.5 billion since 2010.
41,000 young adults in Wisconsin now have coverage through their parents’ health plan.
An estimated 46,000 jobs in Wisconsin could be lost if two key components of the ACA were repealed: roll back Medicaid funding and eliminate subsidies to people.
I have contacted Senator Johnson and Congressman Duffy numerous times encouraging them to work with President Obama to improve the ACA for the benefit of all Americans. I was naïve enough to think our elected representatives actually “cared.” Sadly, that is not the case.
Let me be clear about “Who Cares?”
65,844,954 or 48.2% of American voters voted for Hillary Clinton because we “care” about our fellow Americans and the health challenges they face.