LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- A group of Arkansans gathered at the offices of the two U.S. Senators from Arkansas today to show their support of the Affordable Care Act.
President-elect Donald Trump has promised a repeal of the act, commonly referred to as “Obamacare.” Trump has repeatedly stated that the repeal will be among his highest priorities.
The uninsured rate in Arkansas has fallen by 46% since the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was enacted in 2010, translating into 234,000 Arkansans gaining coverage. An estimated 21,000 young adults in Arkansas have benefited from the ACA provision that allows kids to stay on their parents’ health insurance up to age 26.
Diane Thomas-Holladay said her daughter has a serious pre-existing condition,which is covered by the ACA expansion of Medicaid. She worries won't continue to be covered if there is a repeal.
"Unless they maintain some of the rules, insurance companies would not be required to cover people with pre-existing conditions,” said Holladay. “And this is very complex issue, and you start pulling certain pieces apart the whole thing falls apart."
Up to 1,239,180 people in Arkansas have a pre-existing health condition. Before the ACA, these Arkansans could have been denied coverage or charged an exorbitant price if they needed individual market coverage. Now, health insurance companies cannot refuse coverage or charge people more because of pre-existing conditions.
The group is also concerned about proposed legislation to privatize Medicare and block grant Medicaid.
Under the ACA, health plans must cover preventive services — like flu shots, cancer screenings, contraception, and mammograms – at no extra cost to consumers. This provision benefits 1,102,338 people in Arkansas, most of whom have employer coverage.
Because of the ACA, health insurance companies must spend at least 80 cents of each premium dollar on health care or care improvements, rather than administrative costs like salaries or marketing, or else give consumers a refund. Arkansans with employer coverage have received $15,394,471 in insurance refunds since 2012.