Editorial

Protect the vulnerable

Healthcare replacement should consider minorities’ needs

President Trump began the process for repealing the Affordable Care Act immediately after his inauguration. Little is known about what will replace it, but 18 million Americans may be left uninsured with the repeal of the ACA. 

We believe that without a comparable and viable replacement, the ACA repeal will have significant repercussions for millions of people. We also believe the public has the right to be informed on how Congress and President Trump plan to replace the ACA.

While Trump has not abolished former President Obama’s trademark law, the action of repeal is likely to cause a pandemonium for the health care market. The repeal is good news for those who believe the ACA is unsustainable and harmful to the economy. However, many who benefited by the ACA are now uncertain about their healthcare. We The Threefold Advocate are concerned about populations who are left vulnerable by ACA repeal. There are three groups in particular that we have in mind.

The first group of people who should be protected by the replacement plan are people with mental diseases or addictions. The Federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration reported that 30 percent of those who received coverage through the ACA’s Medicaid expansion have a mental disorder, according to USAToday. The ACA required Medicaid plans to offer mental health and substance-abuse treatment as a benefit. We The Threefold Advocate believe that the healthcare plan that Trump chooses to implement should recognize people with addiction and mental health patients because without insurance coverage, these patients will struggle to maintain their sobriety and their good mental health.

We The Threefold Advocate believe that the elderly and people with disabilities deserve respect and care. Under ACA, senior citizens and people with disabilities pay less for Medicare and their prescription drugs. The ACA repeal could mean higher premiums, deductibles and cost-sharing for the 57 million senior citizens and disabled Americans enrolled in the program, according to CNN.

The final group that the new administration should consider when they introduce a replacement is minorities, who will be seriously affected by ACA repeal. Three million African Americans and 4 million Hispanics accessed coverage through the ACA and these groups saw uninsured rates drop 11.8 percentage points and 11.3 percentage points, according to Fortune. Without the provisions of ACA, bias can threaten the care that black, Hispanic and native American patients receive, especially considering the potential challenges they face when accessing health care in comparison to whites.

The matter of replacing the ACA presents Republicans with serious problems. What will Trump do to protect addicts, senior citizens, the disabled, minorities and the LGBTQ community? Will he leave these groups vulnerable? Will he hinder their ability to receive affordable insurance and vital health benefits?

These groups will continue to be vulnerable without the ACA or a comparable replacement, especially because of its anti-discrimination provisions. Because of these concerns we The Threefold Advocate believe that the American people have the right to be informed about Trump’s new healthcare plan. We believe that he has a responsibility to protect the American people and that accessible healthcare is necessary for citizens to benefit from that protection. We understand that President Trump and the Congress have a long way in the restructuring of the ACA, but we ask for them to be aware that their decisions could and will affect millions of citizens. We understand and sympathize with the uncertainty and anxiety of our community, and we call on our leaders to implement meaningful change that respects and cares for all people.