To the editor:
I am the parent of a young adult who has chronic health issues. If the Affordable Care Act (aka “Obamacare”) is repealed, it would be impossible for her to get health coverage because of her pre-existing conditions and the high cost of the coverage she needs.
Republican candidate Nick Freitas thinks that private bargain-basement plans would be sufficient for low and middle-income people. But those plans only cover preventative and basic sick care. Before ACA, insurance for serious health issues was out of financial reach for most people. If the ACA is repealed, the prospects will be grim for someone who is underemployed because of chronic illness to get coverage.
The uninsured will once again be forced to rely on public hospital emergency departments. These hospitals must cover the cost since they legally cannot turn anyone away.
Freitas thinks the public option is a “cancer.” He should try calculating the cost of repeat emergency room visits by people who have no insurance. Either way, the cost lands on the taxpayers—but the public insurance option is far less expensive. ERs also are designed to address critical care incidents, not chronic health problems. Because uninsured people often wait until they are seriously ill before seeking care, their health declines quickly, leading to greater disability or even premature death.
In stark contrast to Freitas’ regressive position on publicly funded health care, Rep. Abigail Spanberger consistently votes to protect coverage for Virginians with pre-existing conditions; has repeatedly spoken out against the Trump Administration’s partisan lawsuit to dismantle our current health care system and take away the gains made from Medicaid expansion here in Virginia; wants to strengthen our current system and lower costs for all Virginians, rather than advocating for destroying the ACA without any form of replacement; and believes in stabilizing the ACA and preserving its protections for those with pre-existing conditions, including 43,000 children and teenagers in the 7th District.
Rep. Spanberger is also working to reduce premiums in the insurance marketplace and to lower out-of-pocket costs, which is a legitimate concern for many.
If you think we can rely on employer-provided health care to address the problem, consider the nearly 12 million workers and their families who lost their coverage because of the pandemic.
Many people take their health care for granted. Maybe they don’t realize that the “Obamacare” that they hate is actually the ACA plan that they love. If Freitas gets his wish, the result will be millions without health care and a chaotic system. If he thinks that the private health care industry will take care of their problems, he is sadly mistaken. Private insurance companies exist to make money for their shareholders. Their job is to sell insurance plans and then deny coverage so that their profits and stock value continue to rise.
Abigail Spanberger is the only choice as far as I’m concerned. She has proven that she actually cares about all of her constituents, not just the wealthy ones.