Letter: ACA repeal a high wire act

Published 7:28 am Tuesday, September 3, 2019

By Diane Hanson

Rochester, Minnesota

Congressman Jim Hagedorn is proposing a circus trapeze act when he calls for repealing the Affordable Care Act and bringing back high risk pools for those of us with preexisting conditions. Congressional Republicans on the high trapeze bar will drop us. Then state lawmakers will swing from a lower trapeze bar to catch us before we hit the ground.

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I mean this metaphorically, but the reality is just as frightening.

It’s a two-step process to create state-run high-risk pools. Congressman Hagedorn can take the first step, a vote to destroy the ACA, wiping out all of its patient protections to clear the field for the establishment of high risk pools.

But state lawmakers would have to take the second step: they would have to pass the state laws creating and funding these pools.

That’s a daunting task as reflected by the fact that prior to the ACA most states had inadequate or nonexistent high risk pools.

There is no safety net, either.

None of the Republican plans to protect people with preexisting conditions, not even the one Congressman Hagedorn supported, offer the comprehensive protection we have now. There are always loopholes.

Don’t believe Congressman Hagedorn’s claim of support for people with preexisting conditions. The shortcomings in his plans will leave many people who are experiencing catastrophic illness uninsured or underinsured, adding substantial medical debt to their woes.