Congress may take aim at repealing the Affordable Care Act in the new year, and a new report said that could put many Americans on the uninsured list. Researchers at the Urban Institute investigated what the effects of a partial repeal of the ACA would look like and found that 30 million Americans would lose coverage, including 775,000 Washingtonians. It also could put many of the state’s children at risk.
Jon Gould, the deputy director of the Children’s Alliance, said federal funding has been key to covering more than 97 percent of children in the Evergreen State.
“When kids have health coverage, they do better in school and they do better in life,” he said. “We cannot afford to have what could be tens of thousands of Washington children who have gained health coverage since the Affordable Act lose that vital health coverage for their well-being.”
Partial repeal would come through the budget reconciliation process and include elimination of the premium tax credits, Medicaid expansion and the individual mandate. For many years, Republican leaders in Congress have said they plan to repeal and replace the ACA, possibly with a system that includes flexible grants to states.
Joan Alker, executive director of the Center for Children and Families at Georgetown University, said it’s not just children who would be affected if the ACA is repealed.
“Eighty-two percent of those losing coverage would be in working families,” she said. “The majority of those are non-Hispanic whites and 80 percent of the adults becoming uninsured would not have college degrees.”
States would be hurt by repeal as well if there is nothing to replace the federal funding hole in their health-care budgets. According to the report, Washington would lose $43 billion in federal health-care spending over a 10-year period. Gould added that children’s need for health care doesn’t disappear if coverage goes away.
“We know it costs much less for a preventive health visit than for an emergency-room visit,” said Gould. “And when you take away health coverage from kids, you have more kids in the emergency room and higher costs for everyone.”
Featured Image: A new report finds 775,000 Washingtonians could lose their health coverage if the Affordable Care Act is repealed. (nccih.nih.gov)
Eric Tegethoff is a journalist covering the Northwest. Eric has worked as a reporter for KBOO, XRAY FM, and Oregon Public Broadcasting in Portland, Oregon, as well as other print and digital news media. In 2012, Eric traveled to North Dakota to write about the Bakken region oil boom. He's also worked at a movie theater, as a campaign canvasser and quality assurance at a milk packaging factory. Eric is originally from Orlando, Florida. He graduated from the University of Florida in 2010.