Affordable Care Act Still Raises Questions, Concerns

By Destiny Quinn
Delta Digital News Service

BLYTHEVILLE — Throughout a very divisive election, one of President Donald J. Trump’s key campaign promises was to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. The day after his Electoral College victory, over 100,000 Americans registered for health coverage through the Affordable Care Act.

Former President Barack Obama designed the Affordable Care Act as a way to make health insurance more affordable and accessible. The act reduces the cost of health care and lowers the uninsured rate. It requires all U.S. citizens and residents to obtain basic health insurance. If they refuse, they must pay a fine. However, certain circumstances can lead to an exemption.

Abby Houseworth Whitener, Holiday Inn’s manager in Blytheville, finds fault with ACA in its current form.

“It covers just the basic. You still have to pay out the wazoo just to see the doctor,” Whitener said. “It doesn’t cover (Holiday Inn employees) for prescriptions.”

Whitener said she believes the coverage could be improved.

“Ultimately, it’s like a big façade. Everyone has health insurance, but they don’t get anything for it and they are having money taken out of their check to cover it,” she said. “It’s a letdown for them.”

Whitener said she would like to see President Trump replace it with something that would be more beneficial for her employees. But others note the benefits.

“I have seen good outcomes from it and I have seen frustrations with it. I’ve seen outcomes where pregnant women are able to gain insurance under it and are more readily accepted by providers,” said Amanda Deel, assistant dean of the New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine at Arkansas State University’s Jonesboro campus.

The ACA made the process for women to see the OB-GYN easier. Women no longer need a referral from another doctor to seek medical attention from an OB-GYN.

Through the ACA, women also have the benefit of prenatal care visits, iron deficiency anemia screening, gestational diabetes screening, Rh incompatibility screening, tobacco counseling and cessation intervention, and alcohol misuse screening and counseling.

“I’ve seen people that have the insurance, but aren’t really sure of what they have,” Deel said. “They don’t understand; they have this card in their hand that says I have insurance, but they don’t really understand what that actually covers and what it doesn’t.”

Deel said some patients feel frustration due to the miscommunication. She said she believes the general public is less informed than it should be about the various plans and the total coverage.

Whitener spoke about some aspects of the ACA she did like.

“One thing I do like is the vision care. They (Holiday Inn employees) love it,” Whitener said. “They get to go and get their eyes checked and they get to get discounts on glasses. The dental is really good. You get to go and get your teeth cleaned quarterly.”

Both Deel and Whitener emphasized the importance of having a replacement for ACA that will be as good, if not better than what is already in place if ACA is repealed. So far, the Trump administration and Congress have not released a plan of action for its repeal.

(NOTE: Featured photo courtesy of Ted Eytan from Washington, DC, USA [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons)