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As promised, Republicans in the House of Representatives introduced legislation to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the health care overhaul package passed last year. Though the effort to repeal the law was passed with a vote of 245-189, political observers are calling the victory “symbolic” since it has little chance of passing the Democrat-controlled Senate. Instead, Republicans will turn their focus to stripping funding for portions of the bill and trying to eliminate certain provisions.
Americans, however, are split on their support of repealing health care reform. According to a January Kaiser Family Foundation poll, half of Americans view the bill favorably, while half do not, and nearly equal numbers of people think health care reform either didn’t go far enough, is fine as it is, needs to be tweaked or should be repealed entirely.
If the legislation stands, it will provide coverage for millions of uninsured Americans by increasing the population eligible for Medicaid and establishing health care exchanges where individuals and small businesses can purchase coverage at competitive rates. The bill will also require nearly all Americans to buy coverage, a provision that some find at the very least distasteful and at most unconstitutional.
If the legislation is repealed, certain provisions that have already been enacted will go away. These include an insurance program specifically for people denied coverage because of pre-existing conditions, and steps taken to shrink the Medicare Part D doughnut hole, which leaves some seniors with thousands of dollars of uncovered prescription drug costs.
Last year, iVillage talked with women who would be directly impacted by health care reform. Here is what they think of the changes so far.
Jon’ette Jordan: Pre-existing Condition
Jon’ette Jordan was born with sickle cell anemia, a chronic condition that produces abnormal, crescent-shaped red blood cells that clog up the blood vessels and lead to infection, organ damage and paralyzing pain. Jordan, who owns an event planning business, has been repeatedly denied health coverage by insurers over the years on the basis that she has a pre-existing condition. As a result, she was left to pay thousands of dollars out-of-pocket for expensive hospital bills whenever she became ill. The Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan was the first step in providing coverage to Americans with chronic conditions, but so far, Jordan is unimpressed.
“It's not as affordable as we were led to believe,” Jordan says. “I’d have to pay $400 a month for coverage. But I couldn’t even get that far.”
To qualify for insurance under the new provision, Jordan needed a denial letter from a private insurance company dated within the last 12 months. She’d applied and been denied numerous times in the past, but not within the last year. To satisfy the plan requirement, she applied again, expecting an immediate rejection. What she received instead was a request for 10 years worth of medical data and a process so onerous that she chose not to pursue what she was sure would ultimately be a denial by the private insurer. Instead, she found a hospital close to her home that allows her to pay on a sliding scale based on her income. Aside from that, she eats well and exercises in hopes of limiting her sickle cell crises.