Do not repeal Affordable Care Act without an immediate replacement

Chelsia Rice is a bladder cancer survivor who lives in Helena. She’s the Montana Grassroots Manager for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network.

In fall of 2012, I was diagnosed with a rare cancer of the bladder. At that time my partner worked full time as a teacher in public schools. I was under-employed (an adjunct instructor) at two institutions and had a third job when I was diagnosed with cancer. I had no access to employer-provided insurance at that time because of my part-time designation at each place.
My partner’s insurance didn’t offer insurance to same-sex partners and we were not yet allowed to be married by state and federal law. When my partner’s self-funded health insurance plan finally allowed partner benefits, I was denied for a pre-existing condition because I had taken a urinalysis earlier in the year when I thought I my symptoms were related to a bladder infection.

I worked on insurance appeals while I underwent a grueling four months of chemotherapy and a life-saving, 8-hour surgery that altered my life forever, but which ultimately saved my life. Two hospitals – St. Peter’s in my hometown of Helena and the Mayo Clinic – ended up picking up my charges, an amount nearing half a million dollars. But, none of my cancer treatment was ever covered.

I started working again just three months after my big surgery. It was hard, but we needed the income. When the Affordable Care Act was enacted, we purchased a premium plan in the health insurance marketplace as soon as we could. For the first time, I could not be denied coverage due to a pre-existing condition, and my cancer treatment was covered. I did not have to worry about arbitrary lifetime limits or annual caps on my coverage.

Finally, in the fall of 2015, I became employed full-time again, this time working to help fellow cancer patients, survivors and their families with the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network. I am now in a position to fight on behalf of other families faced with cancer who must navigate the health care system and look for meaningful coverage for their cancer prevention and treatment needs.

Without the Affordable Care Act (ACA), I would not have had access to the life-saving medical devices that I need as a result of my treatment and the regular check-ups to see if the cancer returned. Without the lifeline of the ACA, I would have delayed those cancer check-ups – a potentially deadly act.

Senator Daines and Senator Tester, as you and the rest of Congress discuss repeal and replace options for the current health care law, I urge you to think about cancer patients, survivors and those at risk for the disease, all of whom are counting on you for access to affordable, meaningful health coverage to survive. Repealing the ACA with no adequate, immediate replacement could destabilize the health care market and create gaps in care for millions of cancer patients and survivors like myself. We can’t go back to the health care system we had before the law.

We have fought for our lives and our family’s financial welfare. Now we’re asking you – our lawmakers – to do the same. Senator Daines and Senator Tester, please don’t take away our lifeline.

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7 Comments on "Do not repeal Affordable Care Act without an immediate replacement"

  1. An e-mail message i received from our constituent loving Steve Daines:
    “Over the past several years, I have heard from countless Montanans about how Obamacare has hurt them. This year alone, families across our state are seeing insurance premium hikes that average 27 to 58 percent. The cost to insure the generation just entering the workforce has increased by 77 percent since Obamacare took effect. These young adults are the healthiest, and least expensive, demographic to insure. Americans in fully one-third of counties across our nation have only one plan to choose from and face staggering insurance premiums. Montanans were promised lower costs, expanded coverage, increased competition in the marketplace, and the right to keep their doctor. All of these promises have been broken.
    I will work with my colleagues in Congress, the Trump Administration, and Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Tom Price to reform our health care system. I will be fighting for provisions in a replacement plan that will provide access to affordable insurance, protect patients with preexisting conditions, and allow young adults to stay on their parents’ coverage until they turn 26. Our nation’s health care system needs a major overhaul. I believe that doctors and their patients, not insurance companies or the government, should be in charge of health care decisions.”

    I find it amusing that his alternative sounds exactly like the ACA.

  2. Good overview of what we might get as a replacement for ACA…assuming Republicans get their act together.

    http://www.vox.com/2016/11/17/13626438/obamacare-replacement-plans-comparison

    * There is significant variation in what the plans propose. On one end of the spectrum, you see plans from President-elect Donald Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz that would repeal Obamacare and replace it with virtually nothing. On the other end of the spectrum, there are plans from conservative think tanks that go as far as to keep the Affordable Care Act marketplaces and continue to give low-income Americans the most generous insurance subsidies.
    * If we can say one thing about most Republican plans, it is this: They are better for younger, healthy people and worse for older, sicker people. In general, conservative replacement plans offer less financial help to those who would use a lot of insurance. This will make their insurance subsidies significantly less expensive than Obamacare’s.

  3. rl Many thanks for the tip on the R plan to take benefits from us old people. Wishing there was an EZ way i could LIKE your 3:16 comment.

  4. If you are waiting for Daines to show any form of compassion, I am very sorry that your wait will be in vain. This particular snake and his phony concerns for “all Montanans” are quite evident in the stream of bullshit e-mails to “his constituents” as he touts the party talking points. His comments about the delay in Trump getting his cabinet positions fulfilled are as absurd as are his position on healthcare. The years of trying to repeal something that has brought the benefit of good medical care to millions of our citizens in America cannot be pushed out the door with absolutely nothing to replace it. If all Montanans were sucking off the public trough like he is, we would not need the ACA.

  5. How does the RNC grtvsway with their motto of fiscal responsibility and less government while they use government to pervert tax codes to benefit onlly the very wealthy and subsidize those romantic legendary capitalistic farmers and ranchers? How fiscally responsible and less government is at least 3 agencies providing some form of socialized health care to various demographics when one combined agency wpuld save billions a year and insure the entire country. Canada’s collective head hasn’t exploded because of national health care so what is the Republicans excuse? Oh, right , I forget and regret- they are owned by the insurance and pharmaceutical companies. What a bunch of fiscal phonies and worse, they are murderers because hundreds of thpusands of Americans die or are permanently disabled because of their greed. Democrats in DC arenot exactly innocent either. I dont see them pushing for medicare for all except a few like Bernie.

  6. So what’s the answer? Let ACA implode or ? Leave Chelsia Rice alone in the street?

  7. Expect a flat tax credit for all – and tax exempt savings accounts.
    If you have money, you may have a minimal sort of health coverage.

    The Architects of this system expect each American to accept responsibility for paying for our own health care premiums. In return Congress and this President will bequeath to us our natural right to “freedom” and “liberty” to be responsible ourselves for premiums and deductibles and co-pays. Existing known Previous conditions will be grandfathered in… future ‘previous conditions’ will be disallowed.

    Republicans will grant income tax relief – taxes saved will be deposited into our health saving accounts. The older I am, the more tax credits they will allow. Everyone the same age gets the same deal. When my health saving account goes broke… they will pray for me and refer me to a local church congregation.

    Assume in the real world, catastrophic medical expenses will vaporize health savings accounts. “Oremus”

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