In a report featuring people directly impacted by the loss of the Affordable Care Act, NBC News touched the tip of the iceberg, but didn't really convey the deeper human loss.
November 29, 2016

To their credit, NBC News is trying to get the word out about what it really means for people to lose their health insurance if Republicans repeal the ACA and Trump signs the bill allowing it to happen.

Now that Trump has nominated Tom Price for Secretary of Health and Human Services, it's safe to assume Republicans are determined to strip health insurance away from a lot of people, including my son Adam, who is featured in this report. As he points out, he needs insulin to survive. Insulin and more.

Right now, the price of insulin is insanely high, and under the Tom Price "ACA replacement," it's going to be higher, with none of the costs likely to be covered. This is because Price proposes very high-deductible plans, which means that all of the costs up to $12,000 per year or so will be out of the pockets of insureds.

Adam is currently covered under a plan on the California health exchange which has low deductibles and reasonable co-payments for drugs. This enables him to get the necessary insulin, test strips, and other medications without breaking the bank every month. He is not eligible for subsidies, but knows that he would not even be eligible for health insurance if they repeal the guaranteed issue protections that allow him to have insurance with a pre-existing condition.

Under Tom Price's plan, he would not be able to afford much other than those same supplies and medications.

That's the part of his story they didn't manage to convey in just over 60 seconds.

As for the Virginia man who thinks anything would be better than the Affordable Care Act in this segment, I can only wonder. He's clearly close to or at eligibility age for Medicare, so it's hard for me to imagine what he thinks is so terrible about the ACA. His complaint about premiums rising is pretty silly, given the fact that premiums rose far faster with less coverage before the Affordable Care Act went into effect.

Still, I have empathy for him. If he hates the ACA, he's really going to hate Medicare under the Ryan/Price voucher plan. It's going to be all that he hates about the ACA with none of the good that comes with it. So for his sake, I hope he figures out soon that repealing the ACA and voucherizing Medicare is a terrible idea, not only because it hurts Adam and the young woman featured in the report, but also because it means he will die sooner.

Expect much, much more from me on this topic in the future. I'm not going down without a fight on this. For me, this is the line in the sand.

Keep telling your stories about what the Affordable Care Act means to you in the comments, too. This is the time for us to be heard, just as all of the haters were back in 2009 when it was being debated. If they thought that was a debate, they've not seen anything yet.

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