Thousands of asbestos exposure victims depend on the protections provided by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to attend yearly checkups. President Trump and a Republican-controlled Congress have vowed to repeal the ACA, reconciliation measures; making removal of the healthcare legislation easier has already been pushed through the Senate.
Using the budget reconciliation process to partially repeal the ACA would put asbestos exposure victims and millions of other Americans healthcare in question. However, President Trump has already begun using the powers of the executive office to begin rolling back portions of the ACA.
Patient Freedom Act
In response, Senate Republicans introduced the "Patient Freedom Act" while the bill does not attempt to push through tort reforms or bring about high risk pools - a number of concerns continue to exist.
The Patient Freedom Act would allow states to completely get rid of the ACA if they so choose, allowing solid Republican states to remove almost all provisions of the ACA. These states such as Alabama, Mississippi, and South Carolina could create their own insurance program that would give minimal coverage to citizens and hide under the guise of a lower cost.
However, popular provisions of the ACA would remain under this plan. The ban on insurance companies to deny those with pre-existing conditions and guarantee of insurance for those under 26 would remain intact.
What Happens To Asbestos Exposure Victims?
Asbestos exposure victims and mesothelioma patients may not be able to afford their treatments under the Patient Freedom Act. State legislatures which decide to scrap the ACA (if the Patient Freedom Act were to pass) would place these patients in a difficult situation.
Patients seeking treatment would either have to pay more out of pocket costs or they would relocate to a state which kept the Affordable Care Act in place. Neither option may be possible for a number of patients in dire need of care.
Over 3,000 individuals are diagnosed with mesothelioma each year, causing direct concern for the future health of the American populace under the proposed Patient Freedom Act. On President Trump's personal website he states the following about the current healthcare system:
Since March of 2010, the American people have had to suffer under the incredible economic burden of the Affordable Care Act—Obamacare. This legislation, passed by totally partisan votes in the House and Senate and signed into law by the most divisive and partisan President in American history, has tragically but predictably resulted in runaway costs, websites that don’t work, greater rationing of care, higher premiums, less competition and fewer choices.
Obamacare has raised the economic uncertainty of every single person residing in this country. As it appears Obamacare is certain to collapse of its own weight, the damage done by the Democrats and President Obama, and abetted by the Supreme Court, will be difficult to repair unless the next President and a Republican congress lead the effort to bring much-needed free market reforms to the healthcare industry.
Those suffering due to asbestos exposure should keep close watch on the upcoming debate around the Affordable Care Act and whether or not to proceed with the Patient Freedom Act.