Healthy meals are the cornerstone of the small business that Gaby De Jesus of Miami founded in 2015 to help people struggling with weight gain and heart conditions — but affordable health insurance is the key to the company’s survival, she said Tuesday.
Speaking at a press conference to highlight the impacts of the Affordable Care Act, De Jesus said she launched the private chef service and catering company, Fork & Knives, because the health law better known as Obamacare had afforded her a choice between starting her own business or finding a job with health benefits.
“I could choose between giving or taking,” she said.
But now, as the Republican-led Congress rushes to repeal the health law, De Jesus is among the more than 1.6 million people in Florida who risk losing the coverage they have gained through the ACA exchange at healthcare.gov.
“I’m stranded here,” said De Jesus, 25, who was diagnosed in December with Chiari malformations, a structural defect in the brain that causes her intense pain, fatigue and Irritable Bowel Syndrome. “It’s either me closing down the business, or me finding another job with health benefits.”
De Jesus’s story is just one of
De Jesus, who qualifies for government financial aid to buy her own health plan on the ACA exchange, said she pays about $110 a month for her coverage, and an additional $50 a month for her mother. Together, they receive about $650 a month in tax credits to make their premiums more affordable, she said.
new evidence emerged Tuesday of the health law’s impact on individuals’ access to medical care
About 18 million Americans could lose their health insurance coverage and premiums could spike one year after a partial repeal of the Affordable Care Act, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office reported on Tuesday.
By 2026, the number of uninsured Americans could increase by 32 million people and premiums for those who buy their own coverage outside of work would about double, the CBO found.
The report estimated the budgetary effects of the Restoring Americans’ Healthcare Freedom Reconciliation Act of 2015, which was proposed by President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for secretary of Health and Human Services, U.S. Rep. Tom Price of Georgia, a Republican whose confirmation hearing is scheduled for Wednesday.
The CBO report did not consider the impact of any ACA replacement plans proposed by Congressional Republicans, who have yet to reach consensus on such a plan. Instead, the CBO used a repeal bill that Congress passed in 2015.
an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll found that Obamacare has never been more popular
The bill would repeal portions of the health law better known as Obamacare while leaving some of the ACA’s most popular insurance market reforms in place, such as the prohibition on insurers denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions.
Some of the law’s least popular provisions — including the individual mandate that requires most people to buy health insurance or pay a penalty and the requirement that large employers offer their employees coverage that meets specified standards — would be eliminated upon enactment of the bill into law.
Two years after enactment, the bill would also eliminate the ACA’s expansion of Medicaid eligibility and the financial aid available to people who are eligible to buy health plans on the ACA exchanges.
The CBO estimates that after elimination of Medicaid expansion and the subsidies for individuals to buy coverage on the ACA exchange, the number of uninsured would increase to 27 million, and then to 32 million by 2026.
Premiums in the individual market, which is where people buy their own coverage outside of work, would increase by 20 percent to 25 percent in the first year after enactment of the bill. But premiums would rise even higher, by about 50 percent, in the year following the elimination of the Medicaid expansion and the ACA exchange. By 2026, the CBO reported, premiums in the individual market would double.
In Florida, where 1.6 million people have signed up for 2017 coverage on the ACA exchange, the impact would be dramatic — erasing the coverage gains state residents have made since 2014.
Florida is one of 19 states that have refused to expand Medicaid eligibility to include nearly all low-income adults, though the Sunshine State would still be left with the costs of covering an additional 540,000 people who have enrolled in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program since the passage of Obamacare in 2010.
Many of those individuals had been eligible for Medicaid prior to the ACA but only learned of their eligibility after applying for coverage under the law.