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Study: Repeal of Affordable Care Act Would Hit Wisconsin Hard

Repealing the Affordable Care Act could drastically affect health care for children in Wisconsin. (Dangubic/iStockPhoto)
Repealing the Affordable Care Act could drastically affect health care for children in Wisconsin. (Dangubic/iStockPhoto)
December 14, 2016

MADISON, Wis. – Spurred by campaign promises made by President-Elect Donald Trump, Republican leaders in Congress are demanding a speedy repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Advocates for Children and Families are asking that legislators slow down and develop a complete replacement plan first.

Jon Peacock, research director at the Wisconsin Council on Children and Families, said a report from the Urban Institute paints a bleak picture for Wisconsin if the ACA is simply repealed.

"An additional 431,000 Wisconsinites could become uninsured," he said. "We simply can't allow that many children, families, and people with disabilities to lose their health insurance."

Joan Alker, the executive director of the Georgetown Center for Children and Families, said nationwide, the number of kids without coverage would double by repealing the ACA without a replacement plan.

"Families' health-care needs won't disappear if their coverage goes away, and the responsibility for responding to that will fall squarely into the states' lap," she explained. "We'll have huge gaps in our health-care safety net."

Over the past six years, despite dozens of failed votes to repeal the ACA, Congress has yet to agree on a replacement plan. Alker said our elected leaders are taking dangerous risks with the nation's health.

According to Alker and others, there's a lot of misinformation about what the ACA actually is and does, and what would happen if it is suddenly repealed. She said almost 30 million people would lose coverage, and 82 percent would be in working families. Peacock said a quick repeal would be extremely shortsighted.

"Tens of thousands of people, including many children in our state, wouldn't be able to get the preventive care that they need in order to keep them from developing much more serious and more expensive conditions," he added.

Alker said congressional leaders are moving very quickly to try to repeal the ACA in January, as soon as they return from the holidays, so people are not aware that this could happen so quickly, and they're not aware of the consequences.

"We need our congressional leaders to do the hard work of negotiating a replacement plan before they simply create chaos by repealing what's in place," said Alker.

Peacock said legislators owe it to people to act responsibly and have a clear path forward.

Tim Morrissey, Public News Service - WI