Attempts to repeal Affordable Care Act put Oklahoma patients in jeopardy (Guest post: Teresa Huggins)
Teresa Huggins is CEO of Stigler Health and Wellness Center in eastern Oklahoma.
Being raised in small town, rural Oklahoma comes with its benefits. Among those benefits are the close friendships, supports and cohesiveness of knowing everyone; however, many communities face extreme poverty and lack access to basic medical care, not to mention specialty care for the diverse needs and populations that reside in the rural landscapes of Oklahoma.
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) was enacted to help ensure that Americans are able to access affordable health care, regardless of their residence or income status. Millions have gained coverage through the ACA, and the law is helping shift the health care industry toward more preventive care instead of waiting to address health issues until something has gone seriously wrong. In part thanks to the ACA, our health center has experienced a drop in uninsured patients, from 26 percent in 2013 to 19 percent in 2016. Many of the patients newly enrolled in insurance may not have received care if not for the ACA. Our health center has helped 2,749 patients obtain insurance, many through the individual marketplace created under the ACA. These patients will certainly be in jeopardy of becoming uninsured again if the ACA is repealed.
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