Friday letter: Tipton on ACA

Support the ACA, not Tipton

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) brought health insurance to millions of Americans by expanding Medicaid for the poorest adults and giving tax credits to those up to 400% of the poverty level if they purchased insurance through a public exchange. Among other things, it also mandated coverage of pre-existing conditions, eliminated annual and lifetime coverage limits, and allowed young adults to stay on their parents’ healthcare plans until aged 26. Though the rollout was rocky, by 2016, the uninsured rate dropped to a historic low.

The Trump Administration tried but failed (under a Republican controlled House and Senate) to repeal the ACA in 2017, and has taken several steps to weaken it. As a result, the number of uninsured rose in 2017 for the first time since the ACA took effect in 2014. People most at risk of being uninsured are the low-income, adults, and people of color. For the uninsured, a decision often comes down to paying for essentials like food and housing or going to the doctor. The Trump Administration currently supports a lawsuit pending in Texas to fully end the ACA, including the popular coverage for pre-existing conditions, by having it declared unconstitutional. This is true even though Trump repeatedly claims he is working to protect pre-existing condition coverage.

According to Saturday’s Post Independent, Rep. Scott Tipton promised that the “fight is not over” to repeal the ACA and he repeated calls to dismantle public exchanges. It’s hard to imagine trumpeting a fight that will cause more vulnerable and middle-class Coloradans to become uninsured and perhaps find themselves faced with the choice of buying food for their families or going to the doctor. The ideas proposed by the Trump Administration call for cheaper (high deductible), shorter and less-regulated plans, which all have the potential to raise healthcare costs by eliminating certain people or diseases from coverage and making healthcare cost prohibitive for the poor and chronically ill.

The ACA has significantly benefited many Coloradans, including the most vulnerable among us. We should continue to support the ACA, and bring Tipton home from Washington for good.

Eden Steele

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