As the health care debate continues on Capitol Hill, people who purchase their coverage from the individual market through Obamacare are already feeling the impact of the threat to repeal the ACA. Republican lawmakers cannot agree on what their approach to an ACA repeal should look like. Many participants do not trust that their interests and coverage will be protected and so are exploring other options to ensure they have access to the care they need.
People Don’t Love Their Coverage but Fear a GOP Alternative
Vox recently interviewed several Americans who buy their health coverage on the independent market through the ACA. While those interviewed weren’t thrilled with their current coverage, the threat of a repeal of Obamacare was far more troubling than any GOP promise that their plan may make their coverage better.
Participants primarily are displeased with their high monthly premiums and high deductibles. A Kaiser Family Foundation survey has found that 47% of individual marketplace participants are at least somewhat dissatisfied with their deductible level.
Participants Explore Options to Protect Their Care
Many ACA participants who get their coverage from the individual market are considering what options they might have to protect necessary medical care from a potential Obamacare repeal. In their interview with ACA participants, Vox described several options being considered by some participants.
One man who is on prescription medications for depression and anxiety has been stashing his medication so that if his coverage goes away, he will have medication to get him through at least a brief period. He says this dramatically impacts his life, his work, and his relationships. His psychiatrist recently recommended increasing his medication, but at this point, he feels that is impossible as he needs to prepare for the possibility that he will lose his coverage.
Another woman with type 1 diabetes said she is considering a move to the Netherlands if the ACA is repealed. She is a freelance copywriter who gets her coverage through the individual market. She says she would be unable to afford her insulin and other vital health care needs if she did not have access to Obamacare.
While these are only two individuals, they represent countless others who are already living with the effects of an Obamacare repeal. These individuals are people with the ability to stash money or make a big move. The majority of people who would be affected by an ACA repeal do not have such means. Medicaid recipients, those with the lowest incomes, would be the most at risk of losing coverage.