During today's House debate on the repeal of the ACA, Rep. Lloyd Smucker (R-PA) told a story of a couple who lives in Mount Joy, PA and currently benefit under the ACA.
Tim Hollinger is on Medicare. His wife, Phyllis, is not yet eligible and is self-employed. Phyllis obtained coverage through the marketplace, and her premium is over $1,000 per month with a $2,700 deductible, which is over 23 percent of her net income.
Here's the thing: Phyllis gets a subsidy that covers 35 percent of that cost, helping to make it affordable. Because that is how the ACA works. The subsidy reduces the monthly cost to Phyllis so she isn't going broke trying to pay for health insurance.
Rep. Smucker went on to explain why he thinks it's a great idea to repeal the ACA for Tim and Phyllis.
"Phyllis receives a federal subsidy that covers 35% of that monthly cost. To Phyllis, that's not right," he explained. "To Phyllis, this is about her pride. and she's not asking for a lot."
No, Phyllis, you really are asking for a lot. If you don't want the subsidy, don't take it. That's an option, too. But because of your pride, you'd like for 30 million others who are able to have access to healthcare to lose it.
Because of pride, and only pride.
Here's a fact: Those premiums would likely be another 20% higher if the ACA is repealed, and you still wouldn't have to bruise your pride by taking a subsidy. Assuming you had no pre-existing conditions, Phyllis, you could probably get insurance, but it would cost a lot more.
Pride is an expensive thing.
Smucker concluded, "She's simply asking that she have access to affordable health care that doesn't require the American taxpayers to help her pay for it."
Here's what I worry will happen to Phyllis Hollinger if the ACA is repealed. She will not be able to afford her health insurance and will be hoping against all hope that she doesn't get sick before she's eligible for Medicare. If she does get sick, she and her husband will be forced into medical bankruptcy because she will not have any safety net over her head. I do not want this to happen to her, but it's more or less inevitable if the ACA is repealed.
At least her pride will remain intact.