Pandemic Relief Helped Tens of millions Needing Health Insurance. Only Congress Can Ensure Their Coverage Won’t Expire.

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A Wisconsin nurse educator describes her situation, facing a debilitating illness as employer-provided medical insurance went away.

[Editor’s Note: A centerpiece of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is a marketplace of private health insurance plans that are subsidized so that lower-income households can afford healthcare coverage. As part of President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan last year, those subsidies were expanded so that more middle class families wouldn’t have to go without coverage when record numbers of jobs were lost due to the COVID-19 pandemic. If those expanded subsidies expire next year as planned, an estimated 13 million Americans would face lower subsidies or lose them altogether—making it likely many will end up uninsured, even if they have health concerns and would face situations like the one described in this article from Lynn Carey.]

As a registered nurse, I spent my profession working for various healthcare providers within the metro Milwaukee area. I used to be working as a nurse educator after I developed a mysterious cough that may not go away. Little did I do know that my cough can be a symptom of a life-threatening lung disease requiring oxygen 24/7. After a few years of caring for others, I discovered myself the patient.  

Because the disease progressed, I could now not work. 

Fortunately, I used to be capable of be covered under my husband’s health care plan—until he lost his job. And never having a job meant not having medical insurance. This was at a time prior to the Inexpensive Care Act (ACA) and the ACA Marketplace that may be created by the brand new law. The one option, on the time, was to increase our coverage with COBRA which was very expensive and time-limited. Fortunately, my husband did discover a recent job with medical insurance.  

I’ll always remember the stress and anxiety I had, worrying about how I used to be going to afford the extremely expensive care I required without medical insurance. At a time after I needed to give attention to staying as healthy as I could, I used to be apprehensive about not getting coverage because of great preexisting conditions—until the ACA was passed. 

Due to the ACA, I couldn’t be discriminated against due to my health conditions, I had access to medical insurance options if the necessity presented, and I could minimize my stress and anxiety and give attention to living a full life. I simply can’t imagine what would have happened if this had taken place 5 years earlier, and I had no guarantee of access to health care after I needed it most.

The ACA has helped individuals and families like mine by keeping insurance firms from implementing their most predatory and immoral practices. As historic because the ACA is in assuring that everybody has somewhere to go to get health coverage irrespective of what their circumstances, it still needs improvement if we’re to ensure quality inexpensive health care to everyone. Insurance firms have discovered ways to usurp the spirit of the law and go unchecked because Republicans refuse to make even basic adjustments to guard people.

I firmly imagine we want to construct upon what we began, and I’m genuinely apprehensive about all of the families and individuals that were recently capable of access coverage for care via the increased COVID subsidies. These subsidies provided via the ACA marketplace meant more individuals and families were capable of access health care, many for the primary time in years. My concern is that these subsidies are set to run out soon and the specter of COVID is just not over. I are not looking for to see people not enroll due to affordability issues, forgo coverage, after which be hit with an unexpected major health condition. 

We all know that when persons are as healthy as possible, they thrive. Not only is keeping people healthy the proper thing to do morally, but it’s also good for our country to have a healthy community living their lives to their fullest potential. We want to be sure that the ACA COVID subsidies are prolonged and keep the trail clear for people to have a greater future.

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