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Calls by Donald Trump and MAGA Republicans to Repeal the Affordable Care Act Are Alarming; We Need to Stop Them From Rolling Back Progress and Ripping Away Protections



by Jean Wescott, a book publishing sales manager who lives in Richmond
Thanks to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), my son and daughter were each able to stay on my health insurance plan until they were 26.  This allowed them to focus on their education and transition to the workforce, instead of worrying about monthly premiums and astronomically high medical costs that come with not being covered. The ACA has helped countless other moms like me, who previously had to worry about our children being one illness or one accident away from bankruptcy before they even turn 30.

If MAGA Republicans had been successful in their previous efforts to repeal the ACA, my son would not have had the coverage I was able to provide him for many years. That is why I am thankful for the countless organizations, like Protect Our Care, that have been at the frontlines of stopping attempts to repeal the ACA and rip away health care from millions of people. Unfortunately, former President Donald Trump has once again renewed his calls to repeal the ACA – and MAGA Republicans have quickly fallen in line with the head of their party.

These calls to terminate the ACA are incredibly alarming to me, and to the tens of millions of Americans who have benefited from the strong protections the ACA guaranteed for young people, people with pre-existing conditions, and those who rely on the essential health benefits that are required under the law. Every MAGA Republican – including those from Virginia’s Congressional delegation – backing this effort to repeal the ACA or silently complicit, is clearly looking to rip health care from our families, friends and neighbors and increase the cost of health care for all of us.

For states like Virginia, which made the historic decision to expand Medicaid a few years ago, repealing the ACA would also mean taking our state back to the time when millions of people fell between a coverage gap. In other words, Virginia’s uninsured rate would increase, all because MAGA Republicans are so focused on ripping away health care and not coming to the table to work with lawmakers on the other side of the aisle to strengthen the ACA and build on the progress of the last decade.

It is truly baffling that we have to continue to fight against these efforts, especially when this is clearly a losing campaign issue for Republicans. Voters have made it clear election after election that they want lawmakers who are ready to put forth serious solutions to bring down the cost of health care. Repealing the ACA is unpopular for voters of all political parties, and it is time for MAGA Republicans to stop blindly following Donald Trump and trying to follow through on this disastrous plan. At a time when lawmakers should be addressing rising prescription drug costs, tackling the mental health and maternal mortality crisis, expanding access to health care in our rural communities, and working to close racial health disparities for communities of color, it is infuriating that the Republican solution is to take us back. Back to a time when insurers could reject coverage for people in remission from cancer. Back to a time when being a woman meant having to pay more for health care. Back to a time when essential health benefits like newborn care were required in health plans.  With the ACA and Medicaid expansion, more Virginians have health insurance that not only protects them, but also makes our health system stronger.

Thankfully, Congressional Democrats have continued to focus on passing health policy solutions that are making an impact in the lives of millions today. Thanks to the historic Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), health care is now more affordable than ever. Insulin is now capped at $35 a month for Medicare recipients, and thanks to this law the three biggest manufacturers of insulin have announced they are capping insulin to $35 for most patients. The IRA is also tackling Big Pharma’s greed by penalizing pharmaceutical companies that are raising the cost of their drugs faster than inflation, which is a win for all of us who take prescription drugs. I hope all lawmakers, especially those who are part of Virginia’s Congressional Delegation, continue to build on the progress of the IRA and make health care more affordable and accessible.

Right now, there is another mother or father who is in the same situation I was in a couple years ago. That parent is able to keep their child in her health care plan thanks to the ACA. But now, that same parent has to worry whether her child will be ripped away from their plan if Donald Trump and MAGA Republicans are successful at repealing the ACA. I plan on continuing to fight alongside all the moms and dads out there who know how impactful the ACA has been in our lives so that no parent has to worry about their child not having the coverage they need to stay healthy.

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