Efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act are on hold for now, but medical professionals are concerned about what the U.S. Senate will bring forward.
Dale Terasaki, a second year resident at the CU Anschutz Medical Campus, has experience with Medicaid – the program currently slated to be cut by nearly $1 trillion – both as a patient and doctor. He said he’s concerned that under the proposed health plans, 22 million people would lose coverage, including more than 600,000 Coloradans.
“These are real people we’re talking about that are newly covered with Medicaid expansion right now. I was one of them,” Terasaki said. “We really should build upon the progress that we’ve made with the Affordable Care Act. People are benefiting right now, as we speak.”
As a medical student, Terasaki was diagnosed with a serious condition requiring heart surgery. Medicaid expansion prevented him from being saddled with more than $100,000 in debt. He said the experience as a Medicaid recipient gave him a better appreciation for the health program and new insight into what many of his patients are going through.
Supporters of the U.S. Senate’s Better Care Reconciliation Act say government shouldn’t be in the business of insuring patients, and that the new proposals will reduce the federal deficit.
Now that Terasaki is part of the CU residency program, he has good insurance and doesn’t have to worry about potential bankruptcy in the event of another health emergency. He said if Medicaid expansion is rolled back, the impacts will be far reaching, and hospitals and clinics again will be forced to pay for uncompensated care when people without coverage show up in the ER.
According to the Colorado Health Institute, the state could lose $15 billion in Medicaid funding by 2030.
“It’s been a great asset to the hospitals, to our residency training,” he said. “Cutting people off of it, just taking money away from a program that I’ve seen work – personally – and continues to work for millions of Americans, it’s not the solution.”
According to a new NPR/PBS NewsHour poll, just 17 percent of Americans are in favor of the Senate’s plan to repeal and replace Obamacare.
Public News Service