Advocates Raise Concerns About Potential ACA Repeal

paper cutout of familiy protected by an umbrella "Affordable Care Act"

by Andy Jones
December 19, 2016

The National Disability Rights Network and dozens of other disability rights organizations signed onto to a letter to the U.S. Senate on December 12, expressing “strong opposition to repealing key provisions of the Affordable Care Act."

“The ACA has unquestionably improved access to care for people with disabilities and chronic conditions to help them live healthy, independent, and fulfilling lives,” the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities wrote in the letter. “We are particularly alarmed that Congress reportedly will consider in January repealing the ACA and delaying the effective date while developing a replacement.

“This will place at serious risk the lives of individuals with disabilities and chronic conditions who rely on ACA health plans or obtained Medicaid coverage in the 32 states that expanded Medicaid. These individuals fear what the loss of access to health coverage will mean for their health, independence, and ability to function in the community.”

Since the ACA’s passage in 2010, the House of Representatives has voted to repeal the bill more than 50 times. Since President-elect Donald Trump’s election victory, Congressional Republicans have been vague as to whether they plan to repeal the entire law, or replace certain provisions piecemeal, although some action is expected immediately, the New York Times reported December 15.
Among the CCD’s concerns are that a repeal, especially if a replacement plan is not in place, would lead to a loss of coverage for many of the 20 million people who have begun receiving health insurance since the bill’s passage. The CCD also credited the bill with “increased use of preventive care and reductions in uncompensated emergency care and expensive institutional care.”

Of particular concern for the CCD is repeal of the Community First Choice option, a program that incentivizes state Medicaid program to emphasize community-based, as opposed to institutional, services, and the law’s anti-discrimination provisions against people with disabilities.

The full letter can be read here [PDF].

Also, in preparation for the possible repeal of the ACA, the National Health Law Program is gathering stories about health care in a survey.

Disability Rights Washington is the designated protection and advocacy agency in Washington and is a member of the National Disability Rights Network.