In the wake of the presidential campaign and election, many federal lawmakers are pushing for a “replace and repeal” of the 2010 Affordable Care Act (ACA, or “Obamacare”). The Affordable Care Act is a huge health reform law with components that affect insurance markets, improved quality of care, push providers to focus on value and many other important health care reforms.
But by far, the most significant threat is to the expanded health insurance market. The ACA dramatically increased the Medicaid program (AppleHealth in Washington) and provides subsidies for people who buy individual health insurance plans. The unraveling of the ACA without a superior alternative would hurt patients and destabilize our communities and institutions.
Who Benefited from Medicaid Expansion?
After the 2008 recession, employer-provided health insurance was hard to find. What’s more, individual health insurance was not always affordable. Many working people were laid off and had to take multiple part-time jobs — often without health insurance. People between 50 and 65 faced age discrimination and struggled to find employment and health coverage.
Because of the ACA, more than 700,000 people in Washington got health insurance, which stabilized families and communities across the state. That coverage has provided financial stability to families, communities and hospitals, and is contributing to changes in the health care system that will improve the health of our whole state.
The Washington State Hospital Association strongly believes that health insurance is necessary for people to live healthy, productive lives. Our goal is to ensure that low- and moderate-income people in our state can continue to be covered by health insurance. Health coverage opens the door to good primary care, it keeps people out of the ER and helps control overall health care costs—costs that are ultimately shared by everyone.
We’re going to:
- Stay focused on preserving coverage expansion
- Engage with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, as well as other organizations across the state
- Be proactive and responsive with information about how expanded coverage helps patients and communities
- Support our members, as they talk about these issues with their communities.
This is a non-partisan issue. Members of all political parties want communities that are healthy and hospital doors that are open. WSHA is happy to work with all lawmakers to better understand the cost of repeal and to weigh the various “replace” legislation on Washington residents. It’s also our position that a “replace” structure that preserves coverage should be in place before “repeal” legislation is passed.
Numbers to Know
- More than 600,000 have signed up for AppleHealth/Medicaid, insurance with no additional cost.
- About 120,000 have received financial support to help them buy commercial health insurance through the health benefit exchange. (WAHealthPlanFinder.org)
- More than 60,000 have bought commercial health insurance on the exchange without a subsidy. (Health Benefit Exchange data, November 2016)
- 5.8% people in Washington have no health insurance — down from 14% in 2013. (OFM)
- Keep Covered webcast: ACA update (recorded 1/24/2017)
- PowerPoint slides for members. This is a PDF version of slides we are making available to WSHA members. If you would like a set of the PPT slides, please contact Mary Kay Clunies-Ross (email@example.com).
- Letter from the American Hospital Association to President Trump (sent 1/27/2017)
- Letter from the American Hospital Association to Congress (sent 1/27/2017)