The Battle to Save Health Insurance is Making Me Sick

 Contributed by Caroline Armstrong.

It’s true. I wake up each morning with a belly ache, wondering how much longer I will be able to hold onto my health insurance. For more than two years, we have been fighting to preserve and to shore up the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in the face of a relentless effort by the Trump administration and the GOP to dismantle the ACA, including an ongoing federal court battle to overturn it. 

There appears to be no end in sight. Quoting Senator Lindsey Graham: “If we can get the House back and keep our majority in the Senate, and President Trump wins reelection, I can promise you not only are we going to repeal Obamacare, we’re going to do it in a smart way where South Carolina will be the biggest winner.”

True, the 2020 Democratic Presidential candidates have made healthcare a premier campaign issue, with many going on record supporting various versions of universal healthcare or at least vastly expanded coverage. But, that’s a longer term vision. What I worry about is what’s right in front of us here and now. That’s why I believe we all need to turn to our State representatives to ensure that we are adequately protected in the event the ACA goes down. 

I applaud Pennsylvania and New Jersey for enacting some critical pieces of health care legislation over the past year or that counteract federal efforts to undermine the ACA. This summer, Pennsylvania passed legislation to create a state-based ACA health insurance marketplace and authorized the creation of a new reinsurance program, both aimed at lowering insurance premiums and increasing access to health insurance. New Jersey enacted similar legislation along with several other important pieces of legislation, including one enabling the state to create its own individual mandate, an ACA provision that stopped being enforced as a result of the GOP 2017 tax law. 

We still need more. Protecting coverage for pre-existing conditions, preserving the essential health benefits under the ACA, ensuring those up to the age of 26 continue to be eligible for coverage under their parents’ insurance are examples of outstanding needs that we must make sure are met through additional state legislation.

Be informed, learn more at the October Springboard: 

Get the latest on the health insurance front at the state and national levels at the upcoming Indivisible Lambertville/New Hope Springboard program called “Health Insurance – Are We at Risk of Losing It?” on Monday, October 7, 7:00-8:30 pm at the Phillip L. Pittore Justice Center, 25 S. Union Street, Lambertville, NJ. The program will feature three policy experts in the healthcare field who will tell us the latest and entertain your questions, and include a discussion of actions we can take as concerned citizens. Sign up now at the Indivisible Lambertville/New Hope website.

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1 August 5, 2019 interview on “The Morning Answer with Joey Hudson”

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