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The irony of repealing the Affordable Care Act

By Wendell Potter

Here’s an interesting irony: Everyone around Trump who gets COVID-19 may be in big trouble if they get their wish and gut the Affordable Care Act. Why? In the future, COVID will likely be classified by private insurers as a pre-existing condition. 


I'd know - I used to be an insurance executive.


I sincerely hope and pray the President, First Lady and those around them who've contracted COVID get well. I hope and pray the same for all people, here and around the world. Now here's my concern about what they're doing to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and how it will affect those with COVID-19.


I know firsthand that before the ACA, insurers kept a list of more than 400 conditions they used to either reject applicants, or charge them more than they could afford to pay for coverage. If I were Hope Hicks, I might be concerned that my boss wants to go back to that system.


The conditions my old company would use to deny care ranged from ones that many babies were born with to the many forms of heart disease and cancer. They also included things like diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and even acne. 


Joe Biden was right when he said that more than 100 million people in the US have a pre-existing condition insurers could use against them. Trump said it wasn’t true, but his own Center for Disease Control (CDC) said as many as 129 million of us have at least one. And now he and his loved ones do, too. 


If you think the president can use an executive order to force insurers to cover pre-existing conditions, you don’t know the industry like I do. They don't want to cover you if they might have to pay big medical bills. They want to make money and reward shareholders and executives.


As for COVID, the millions of Americans who’ve had it could end up with one or many pre-existing conditions. Without the ACA, insurers will shun them. This practice drove the number of uninsured in America to 50 million before ACA was passed. 


And that was before a pandemic. 


But this won't just screw over the president and his associates. It will kill and bankrupt many Americans. Please think about that when you vote.

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