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Health Care on Voters' Minds for Primary Day

Advocates say undermining the ACA could lead to denial of coverage for pre-existing conditions. (vjohns1580/pixabay)
Advocates say undermining the ACA could lead to denial of coverage for pre-existing conditions. (vjohns1580/pixabay)
August 30, 2018

BOSTON – Tuesday, Sept. 4, is primary day in the Bay State, and the candidates who win a place on the November ballot could have a major impact on the future of health care.

Republicans in Washington, D.C., continue to wage a relentless campaign to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, while many Democrats are promoting what they call Medicare for all.

But James Roosevelt, former CEO of the Tufts Health Plan, maintains that the most important issue is maintaining affordable, accessible health care, and scrapping the ACA may not be the best approach.

"We need to keep a focus on what's working in the present system, fix the things that need improvement and not essentially throw the baby out with the bathwater," he states.

Although modified to meet federal requirements, the Massachusetts universal health care law predates the ACA and has achieved 98 percent overall insurance coverage in the state.

While Republicans have called for repealing and replacing the ACA and have chipped away at key provisions of the law, Roosevelt points out that they have yet to come up with a replacement. And, he adds, the ACA has worked.

"Nationwide, more than 300 million Americans now have access to coverage for their care and, moreover, they can't be denied coverage for pre-existing conditions like diabetes or asthma or cancer," he stresses.

Advocates say new federal rules allowing plans that offer fewer benefits will undermine access to affordable insurance for people with pre-existing conditions.

Roosevelt notes that there are several competitive races in this year's primary, and voters need to ask themselves a critical question when they go to polls on Tuesday.

"Am I voting for a candidate who has both the right position in terms of continuing to cover everybody for their health care, and the understanding and experience to fight for that in Congress?" he poses.

Last year almost 250,000 people in Massachusetts enrolled in health plans through the health insurance exchange facilitated by the ACA.

Andrea Sears, Public News Service - MA