Critics: New GOP Plan Would Hurt Minnesota’s Children

The number of Minnesotans without health insurance has dropped more than 50 percent since the Affordable Care Act was implemented.

Critics say repeal of the Affordable Care Act probably will have a big impact on Minnesota’s most vulnerable citizens – the elderly, those with disabilities and children. Overall, 250,000 Minnesotans have gained health coverage through the ACA, and the state has reached an all-time low uninsured rate of 4.3 percent.

Minnesota also has seen more than a 50 percent reduction in the number of uninsured children.

Stephanie Hogenson, research and policy director for the Children’s Defense Fund, says the GOP’s proposal to replace the ACA threatens all of the gains made, especially the cuts proposed for Medicaid.

“Our Legislature and our agencies that implement that program are going to have to make some tough decisions about cutting certain people off the program, limiting benefits, passing costs on to families, reducing provider reimbursement rates,” she explained.

The new American Health Care Act would give people smaller tax credits, and would eliminate the cost-sharing subsidies, which lower out-of-pocket expenses for the lowest-income people who buy health insurance on the marketplaces. President Trump has been promising to replace the ACA with something that provides “good coverage at much less cost.”

Advocates say this plan means millions will lose coverage.

Hogenson says the ACA wasn’t perfect, but positively affected the long-term health of children. She says the first rule of medicine is “do no harm,” and the GOP’s proposal hurts people.

She says everyone needs to make their voices heard to lawmakers that any repeal shouldn’t have a negative impact on the people who need it most.

“If we can keep pushing that message of ‘do no harm’ with the hope of making increasing gains, we will definitely see the continuation of these gains we’ve made for children and families, but with this proposal, we will really move backwards,” she added.

The GOP plan would end Medicaid expansion. Twelve million people have gained insurance through it, but the repeal would eliminate the funding that makes it possible for all new enrollees after 2020. Minnesotans are being urged to call or write members of Congress and tell them to protect health care.

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