Sparks family fears ACA repeal without replacement: Sarah Mahler

Feb 23, 2017

By Sarah Mahler, Progressive Democrats of America, Reno Chapter – Special to the RGJ 

The very thought of repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA) with nothing to replace it is a chilling prospect for many Americans.  For many Nevadans, it’s also personal.   No one is immune to the outrageous cost of health insurance.  Most of us are aware of the huge increases in prescription drugs making recent headlines and the jaw dropping CEO salaries of the large insurers.

For one Sparks family with many health care needs, including a young daughter on the autism spectrum, the ACA allowed for many services to be billed to insurance. Tens of thousands of dollars had already been spent on specialty services and on private school after the daughter was bullied in elementary school causing severe anxiety and depression.  Thanks to specialized treatments, including costly Applied Behavior Analysis, this young woman returned to public school and graduated with a standard diploma. Ongoing treatment has allowed her to not only learn but to succeed, thrive and continue with her educational goals at TMCC.

But these chronic issues don’t go away, and repealing the ACA without another solid plan in place means this 20 year old will never be able to get health insurance due to her pre-existing condition.  Without continuing treatment she, and millions like her, will become an enormous burden on our already stretched emergency rooms and underfunded public mental health services.  This is counterproductive, unnecessary, and will cause those who have the ability to cope and live independently to become dependent on society or potentially result in bankruptcy for already overburdened families.   Where is the logic?

The ACA is far from perfect.  But rarely, if ever, has a new invention or an enormous project or program been perfect in its initial version or phase in any field – from the light bulb to the Smartphone, the Model T to the Space Station not to mention Medicare and Social Security.  So fix it, improve it, make it more efficient – but don’t destroy it.  Doing so would destroy the families and individuals President Trump claims to care about.

So what can we do to make sure health care is available at a fair and equitable price for all?   For starters, we can join the record numbers of Nevadans who are writing, calling, emailing and showing up at local the offices of Senator Heller, Senator Cortez Masto and Congressman Amodei.  We can tell them to vote against repealing the ACA without something solid to take its place.  We can tell them nothing should be off the table, including a single-payer system.

Health Care is a bipartisan issue and should not be politicized.  We all benefit from a physically and mentally healthy society. The health outcomes of too many Nevadans are at stake. The financial health of our Nevada families is also at risk. Nevadans are counting on our elected representatives to stand up for the security that the ACA has given us.

Sarah Mahler is the program coordinator for Progressive Democrats of America the Reno Chapter.  

Follow Sarah on Twitter: @SarahMahler1 and Progressive Democrats of America the Reno Chapter: @PDAReno