Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Obamacare helps you more than you know

In my continued rant about the likelihood of losing the Affordable Care Act, which allows diabetics like myself to rest easy knowing we'll always be able to get health care, here is another gem:

6 Lesser-Known Obamacare Provisions That Could Evaporate

Obamacare didn't just mandate that everyone needed health insurance, any more than it just set up a marketplace where people could buy health insurance policies directly.  It even did more than protect people with preexisting conditions, like diabetes (although I have to admit that is my favorite part of it).  There are also a number of things the ACA did for us that we're going to regret losing.
The one that impacts diabetics most on this list is probably the requirement that fast food chains publish nutrition facts on their food.  I was diagnosed in 2002, before they were required to do any such thing, and I can tell you how hard it was -- as a newly diagnosed diabetic, just learning to carb count -- to estimate how much insulin to take for my food.  We want this requirement to remain in place, trust me.

Then there are also the restrictions placed on hospitals.  If you have to visit the ER -- which is occasionally a fact of life for many diabetics -- your health comes first.  The hospital is required to charge you the usual copay even if it's out-of-network for you.  Unfortunately there are no restrictions to prevent them from "balance billing," or billing you whatever your insurance company won't cover, but the ACA does require them to post their financial assistance policy and to discount services to those who qualify.

Some of the provisions of the ACA don't necessarily affect diabetics directly, but folks are going to regret it if they lose them.  For instance, support for breast-feeding mothers in the workplace.  The movement to support breastfeeding women has gained traction in recent years, with many outspoken bloggers, artists, journalists, and brave mothers standing up for a woman's right to breastfeed her child wherever she needs to -- without fear of being banished to the bathroom.

The ACA was a little ahead of its time, mandating that workplaces allow breastfeeding mothers pumping breaks and a private place to pump long before this issue had gained so many advocates.  If the ACA gets repealed, where does that land new mothers?  Waiting until lunch with painfully full breasts and pumping in the bathroom or a broom closet, most likely.

The ACA supported women in general, too: Besides the support for birth control, there's also the provision that allows us to choose our own OB-GYN -- without a referral from our general practitioner.

Seriously, there is so much good and necessary health care reform wrapped up in Obamacare.  It's not just about health insurance mandates and a marketplace.  Why would we want these things to go away?

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