Trump administration makes drastic changes to Affordable Care Act

Republican healthcare revision aims to decrease taxes at the cost of cutting care for those with pre-existing conditions

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The house voted 217-213 in favor of revising the Affordable Care Act this past Thursday, including a policy allowing states to deny care or charge high premiums on those with pre-existing medical conditions, stirring up protest.

Washington D.C. erupted this past Thursday after house Republicans gained a narrow victory on their plan for the revised Affordable Care Act (ACA), a healthcare bill intended to repeal and replace Obamacare. After the vote passed 217-213, house Democrats joined together in song, brutally chanting the familiar tune “na na na, hey hey hey, kiss him (Trump) goodbye.”

Republicans cheered at the results. Fox News reported Vice President Mike Pence called the vote “the beginning of the end of Obamacare,” while House Speaker Paul Ryan echoed the enthusiasm, saying “a lot of us have been waiting years to cast this vote.”

What does this ACA revision entail, exactly? The Associated Press reported the bill intends to scrap tax penalties on those who don’t buy health insurance coverage or large employers who don’t offer coverage, block federal payments to Planned Parenthood for one year, cut the Medicaid program for low-income individuals and include work requirements for those still on Medicaid, and — last, but not least — provide states with federal waivers allowing them to either deny coverage or charge hefty premiums on individuals with a wide range of pre-existing medical conditions.

Pre-existing medical conditions include but are not limited to: health issues such as asthma, diabetes, ADHD, depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety, ADD, acne, pregnancy complications (including sexual assault) and eating disorders.

This specific aspect of the bill left social media in a swarm of political turmoil, as people posted their personal experiences with pre-existing medical conditions and explained the importance of maintaining a health care system through which they receive fair coverage. Facebook even added the option to place a profile sticker on top of user profile pictures, stating “I have a pre-existing condition.”

While Obamacare guaranteed coverage to individuals with pre-existing conditions, CNN reported the American Medical Association wrote a letter to lawmakers asking them to oppose the revised bill, saying it “could effectively make coverage completely unaffordable to people with pre-existing conditions.” AARP projected premiums in “high-risk pools (those with pre-existing conditions)” could cost nearly $25,700 a year.

I have painfully experienced beloved family members and friends deal with these conditions. My sister has fought with asthma her whole life, enduring asthma attacks in her childhood and requiring hospitalization for the seriousness of her condition in college. Handfuls of my friends and teammates battle diabetes, depression, anxiety and eating disorders every day. I have tutored classmates who struggle to focus or fulfill their academic potential without their ADHD medication. I myself have dealt with a pre-existing condition.

I want to stress how vital it is that conditions like these are treated. Without her inhaler, I truly don’t know what would have happened to my sister during some of her asthma attacks. One of my teammates demands insulin to cope with the complications of diabetes. I have held friends in my arms as they endure anxiety attacks or break down from mental health conditions. These people don’t just desperately need care, they deserve it.

While I understand the Trump administration’s effort is to save money and cut taxes, it isn’t worth putting millions of Americans at risk for health conditions out of their control. These people didn’t ask for their diagnosis, but they are asking for help. Don’t slam the door in their face.