Given the uncertainty now surrounding the future of the national health care landscape, it should come as little surprise that Americans have real concerns about their ability to afford coverage as rates creep even higher.
Many households have seen their health insurance costs grow sharply in recent years, with deductibles rising by thousands of dollars and premiums jumping by hundreds of dollars per month, according to The New York Times. However, despite some long-term misgivings about the ACA, the majority of Americans now support it, and see the idea of a repeal as concerning. This may be especially true of the tens of millions of Americans who are covered as a direct result of the health care law.
"The idea that you shouldn't take coverage away really captured a large share of people who weren't even helped by this bill," Robert Blendon, a health policy expert at Harvard who has closely followed public opinion of the Affordable Care Act, told the newspaper.
Why coverage is vital
Prior to the ACA's coverage mandate, millions of Americans went without health insurance simply because they found it unaffordable, according to The Boston Globe. That, in turn, led them to simply skip doctor's visits even when they had health problems, which likely led to worse health outcomes overall in a large number of cases. This trend would typically lead to higher medical bills when health problems worsened, making care further unaffordable, and potentially financially ruinous.
Efforts to repeal and replace - or indeed, not replace - the ACA is likely to lead to millions losing their health insurance options, and even prices for those who still have insurance are likely to skyrocket as a result of millions of people falling out of the coverage pools.
Of course, as with any discussion on the subject, there is bound to be disagreement, and that's certainly the case among small-business owners today, the Times further reported. These companies may face more significant cost burdens of their own under the ACA, but major small-business lobbying groups are now divided about the impact a repeal would have on their employees and their owners' personal bottom lines. Government data suggests about 20 percent of all people who buy insurance through the ACA's mandated exchanges are small-business owners; in total that's about 1.4 million people.
Certainly, this is an issue for everyone to monitor, whether they're an individual, a small-business owner or working within the health insurance or care industries. The impact of rising costs and falling insurance enrollment would likely have a massive effect on the entire national health care landscape as a whole, and it's something everyone will have to prepare for both within and outside of the insurance industry.