Hands Off Our Health Care

By Barbara Altman

The Republican Party is poised to turn back the clock on the American healthcare system. It’s wrong and we can’t let it happen. Here’s just some of what’s at stake if Republicans have their way:

  1. Preexisting conditions. Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan want to take us back to the bad old days when health insurance companies could delve into individuals’ health histories and use what was disclosed (or not disclosed) to deny coverage.

 

  1. Preventive care. No-cost preventive care helps keep people healthy and also helps keep overall costs lower.  After all, it’s far less expensive to cure cervical cancer discovered by a Pap test than to treat a patient with terminal cancer.

 

  1. Protection against crushing costs. Right now, there are certain limits on how much patients can be forced to pay out-of-pocket annually. Similarly, insurance companies can’t deny payments once somebody’s costs reach a number made up by the insurance company. Americans should be protected against losing their homes because of one catastrophic illness, and insurers should not be  allowed to withdraw benefits when they’re so badly needed.

 

  1. Medicaid. Health care for pregnant women, children, the disabled, the working poor, and older Americans is essential. We can’t turn our backs on each other.

 

As a volunteer navigator who has helped citizens enroll in health insurance plans since the first open season in 2013, I know these key features must be preserved if we’re going to save lives and prevent long-term harm. It’s the right and responsible thing to do. Republicans in Washington either don’t understand or don’t care.

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