LETTER: ACA should not be repealed


As a family nurse practitioner, I have never been more fearful for the health and safety of my patients than I have been over the last three months. I work at a community health center for the Pennsylvania-based Family Practice and Counseling Network. President Trump and our Sen. Pat Toomey both say that the Affordable Care Act (also known as the ACA or ObamaCare) is a "disaster" and should be "fully repealed."

But the ACA has been a godsend for our uninsured patients. After the ACA became law, the rate of uninsured patients in our network fell dramatically, and at our clinic our uninsured rate dropped from 25 percent to under 10 percent. ObamaCare also poured billions into existing and new health centers across the nation like ours, and allowed for expanded primary care and preventative services. Because of this part of the ACA we were able to open the East Side health center in York, Pa., in April 2012, and this allowed us to bring critically needed high-quality primary care services to the city. But a repeal of the ACA would cause approximately 3,000 of our patients to lose their insurance.

Kim Altland, displays a collection of hospital wristbands and X-rays Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2016, at his home in North Codorus Township. Altland, 47, has undergone more than 60 hospital admissions and 50 surgeries. Born with a congenital disability, he lost his job in 2011 and with it the employer-provided health insurance that helped offset the high cost of his treatment. He got coverage under expanded Medicaid in PA and worries about future health care prospects. Amanda J. Cain photo

Here are the facts: because of the ACA more than 20 million Americans became newly insured. Also, studies show a full repeal will cost our economy nearly a trillion dollars a year and will eliminate over 1.1 million jobs. According to the New England Journal of Medicine, a repeal of the ACA would mean about 44,000 more deaths per year. Finally, 85 percent of primary care providers polled nationally firmly reject a complete repeal of the ACA. As a nurse practitioner, I wonder if Trump and Toomey would feel comfortable being treated with medicine based on "alternative facts?"