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Health Reform at Six Months

Repeal Would Take Away New Rights and Benefits

The Affordable Care Act gave Americans new rights and benefits in their health coverage, writes Karen Davenport. Repeal would remove these gains.

President Barack Obama, flanked by health care professionals Barbara Crane, left, and Stephen Hanson, speaks about health care reform on March 3, 2010, in the East Room of the White House in Washington. (AP/Charles Dharapak)
President Barack Obama, flanked by health care professionals Barbara Crane, left, and Stephen Hanson, speaks about health care reform on March 3, 2010, in the East Room of the White House in Washington. (AP/Charles Dharapak)

American families have acquired new rights and benefits in their health coverage with today’s six-month anniversary of the Affordable Care Act. They’ve gained the right to purchase coverage for a family member under the age of 26, for example, or to purchase coverage for a sick child without worrying about a pre-existing condition exclusion.

In the coming months millions of families will be able to access preventive care without paying a deductible or copayment, and people who are seriously ill no longer need to worry about exhausting their plan’s lifetime benefits. These are tangible improvements to our health insurance system that would not have happened without the Affordable Care Act.

But these new rights and benefits—and other health system improvements included in the new health care law—are threatened by health reform opponents who would repeal the Affordable Care Act and unravel the benefits it provides. This draconian step would leave millions of Americans without the hope of attaining health coverage, and would impose real costs on the health care system and the people who use it. These costs include:

Today is a day to celebrate our recent accomplishments—and to appreciate the risks and costs that stepping backward would incur.

Karen Davenport is the Director of Health Policy at American Progress.

More from CAP on health care reform and repeal:

 

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