What Happens In Virginia If Health Care Reform Is Repealed

September 29, 2010 5:47 pm ET

As part of their radical 2010 agenda, Republicans are assuring Americans they will repeal the new health care reform law - despite growing support among Americans who recognize the great benefits of reform. This extreme plan would eliminate health insurance for millions of Virginians, raise taxes on small businesses and increase the federal deficit.

The Cost of Repeal

Without Health Care Reform, Costs Would Have Increased For Everyone. The Urban Institute concluded in a report that "the nation will face rapidly accelerating costs for individuals, employers and government, as well as the rate of uninsurance, if health reform is not enacted. Our analysis shows that without significant reform that makes health insurance more accessible and affordable, and reduces the rate of health care cost growth over time, the number of uninsured will increase and health care spending will increase dramatically." [The Urban Institute, 5/21/09]

  • Repealing The Affordable Care Act Would INCREASE The Deficit. According to the Congressional Budget Office's response to a letter from Senator Crapo inquiring about the cost of repealing the Affordable Care Act: "The estimate of $455 billion mentioned in your letter represents the net effects of many provisions. Some of those provisions generated savings for Medicare, Medicaid, or the Children's Health Insurance Program, and some generated costs. If those provisions were repealed, CBO estimates that there would be an increase in deficits similar to its original estimate of $455 billion in net savings over that period." [Congressional Budget Office, 8/24/10, emphasis added]
  • Repealing The Affordable Care Act Would RAISE Premiums And Decrease Coverage. The Center for American Progress reported that: "Retaining the law's insurance reforms, but repealing the subsidies as well as the requirement to purchase insurance, would further discourage people from buying insurance when they're healthy. Premiums in 2019 would cost twice as much as projected under the law as a result." [Center for American Progress, August 2010]
  • Repealing The Affordable Care Act Would RAISE Taxes For 102,600 Small Businesses In Virginia. According to a report by Families USA and Small Business Majority, 102,600 (80.8%) of small businesses in Virginia are eligible for premium health care tax credits in 2010. [A Helping Hand for Small Businesses: Health Insurance Tax Credits, Families USA and Small Business Majority, July 2010]

If Health Care Reform Is Repealed, Virginia Will Lose The Chance To Receive Billions In Federal Funding. According to a report by Health Care for America Now!, Virginia would see an increase of almost $13 billion in federal Medicaid funding and approximately $14 billion in federal private health insurance subsidies over the course of 10 years thanks to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act - a total of about $27 billion. [Health Care For America Now!, 3/24/10]

The Uninsured

Over 2.1 Million Virginians Are Uninsured. According to Families USA: "Of the 2.1 million uninsured Virginians, nearly three-quarters (73.7 percent) went without health coverage for six months or longer [during the 2007-2008 period]." [Families USA, March 2009]

The Uninsured Receive Less Care, Go Longer Without Diagnosis, And Have Higher Mortality Rates. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation:

Health services research has consistently documented an insurance disparity in access to and use of medical services. Compared to persons who have health insurance, the uninsured:

  • receive less preventive care,
  • are diagnosed at more advanced disease states,
  • and once diagnosed, tend to receive less therapeutic care and have higher mortality rates.

[Kaiser Family Foundation, 5/10/04]

Without The Affordable Care Act, Health Insurance Coverage Would Have Continued To Decline. According to a 2009 report by the Institute of Medicine: "A number of ominous signs point to a continuing decline in health insur­ance coverage in the United States. Health care costs and insurance premiums are growing substantially faster than the economy and family incomes. Rising health care costs and a severely weakened economy threaten not only em­ployer-sponsored insurance, the cornerstone of private health coverage in the United States, but also threaten recent expansions in public coverage. There is no evidence to suggest that the trends driving loss of insurance coverage will reverse without concerted action." [Institute of Medicine, February 2009]

1 In 5 Virginians Under The Age Of 65 Has A Pre-Existing Condition And Will Continue To Be At Risk For Denied Coverage If Reform Is Repealed. According to Families USA: "Approximately 1,461,000 Virginians under the age of 65 have a pre-existing condition that, absent reform, could lead to a denial of coverage by an insurance company. ... This means that, without health reform, more than one in five non-elderly Virginians (22.2 percent) is at risk of being denied coverage." [Families USA, May 2010]

Without Health Reform, Disparities in Health Care Will Continue In Virginia

Health disparities occur when a disproportionate number of people in a certain group (race, ethnicity, gender, etc.) do not receive adequate health coverage or care. Prior to the passage of health care reform, a wide variety of groups were subject to health disparities and will suffer if the Affordable Care Act is repealed. Here are some of the inequities those groups would be likely to face:

Women Would Be Less Likely To Receive Long-Term Care And Could Pay Expensive Out-Of-Pocket Costs. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation: "Women are more likely than men to both need long-term care services and lack the social supports and resources needed to live independently in the community. Women who are frail or have disabilities and need long-term care services often find paying for this care is expensive and can quickly exhaust lifetime savings. As a result of the limited coverage for long-term care under both Medicare and private policies, many women and their families pay sizable out-of-pocket costs for nursing home and community based care." [Kaiser Family Foundation, December 2009]

Women Would Be Disproportionately Affected By A Lack Of Preventative Services. According to a study by the Kaiser Family Foundation: "Both of the health reform proposals from the House and Senate emphasize the value of prevention, particularly with an eye toward saving future costs on avoidable procedures and services. Many of the conditions that are growing among women, including heart disease, diabetes, as well as cancers most likely to afflict women-breast, lung, colorectal, and cervical cancers-all respond much more effectively to treatment when identified early through screening tools, and some may be prevented, for example with the HPV vaccine." [Kaiser Family Foundation, December 2009]

People Of Color Would Continue To Be Less Likely To Receive Insurance Through Their Employers. According to a report by the Kaiser Family Foundation: "People of color are more likely to work low-wage jobs, and have decreased access to employer sponsored coverage compared with whites. Many people of color work for small employers, who compared with their larger counterparts, are less likely to offer health coverage to their employees. For various reasons, however, even among small employers, racial and ethnic disparities exist among those with health coverage. ... The employer mandate and access to premium credits for low-wage workers and those for whom coverage remains unaffordable will likely lead to coverage expansions for minority workers and their families." [Kaiser Family Foundation, September 2010, in text citation deleted for clarity]

Racial And Ethnic Minorities In Virginia Would Continue To Be Less Likely To Have Coverage Than Whites. According to Families USA: "People of racial and ethnic minorities are more likely to go without health insurance than whites. In Virginia, 60.6 percent of Hispanics/Latinos, 36.7 percent of African Americans, and 35.8 percent of 'other' ethnic minorities were uninsured, compared to 25.8 percent of whites." [Families USA, March 2009]

People Living With HIV/AIDS Would Not Have They Coverage They Need. According to Department of Health and Human Services Assistant Secretary Richard Sorian: "People living with HIV and AIDS have always had a difficult time obtaining access to health coverage. Medicaid, Medicare, and the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program have provided a critical safety net. But today, nearly 30% of people living with HIV do not have any health insurance coverage, and many others have limited coverage. In addition, people living with HIV and AIDS have faced hurdles to getting quality care from qualified providers. The Affordable Care Act passed by Congress and signed by President Obama in March helps make it easier and fairer for people living with HIV or AIDS to get the coverage and care they need." [blog.AIDS.gov, 9/14/10]

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