“TrumpCare would mean less coverage, fewer protections, and higher costs for all Rhode Islanders, and worse yet, some of the most vulnerable communities in our state would be hurt the most,” said Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo at a briefing held before the Republican controlled congress announced a delay in the vote to repeal and replace Obamacare. “Every day when I am out in the community, I hear from more Rhode Islanders who are worried about what this plan means for them and their families. What I tell them is what I’ve been saying since November-that we will stand up and fight for Rhode Islanders to make sure that no matter what happens at the federal level, people in our state have access to the care they need.”
TrumpCare, said Raimondo, exists only to “give tax breaks to their rich.”
Raimondo was joined by two Rhode Islanders who depend heavily on the ACA.
“Before the ACA, I worried about gaining access to healthcare,” said Providence resident Ellie Brown, an artist and educator who receives health coverage through the Medicaid Expansion that occurred as a part of the Affordable Care Act. “In the past I had seen a therapist and psychiatrist, and my anxiety was a pre-existing condition. That paired with my socioeconomic status made buying health insurance prohibitive. I am scared that as a female artist and educator in my 40s with nothing but part-time work, I’m not going to be able to see my doctor, access preventative medicine, or get prescriptions to keep my anxiety under control with the losses and cuts that come with TrumpCare.”
“When I was at my darkest hour, Rhode Island stood by me and brought me back to health and I will never forget that,” said John Jacobson, who credits the ACA as executed in Rhode Island with saving his life and who worries that he will no longer be able to afford leukemia medication if the ACA is repealed. “This would not have been possible without the passage of the Affordable Care Act. I urge Congress to work on making the ACA better with a focus on reducing costs.”
The Affordable Care Act is working in Rhode Island, says Raimondo. The uninsured rate in Rhode Island has dropped from nearly 12 percent in 2012 to 4.2 percent today. Expanded access to Medicaid has resulted in coverage for approximately 70,000 adults who previously did not have coverage. More than 30,000 Rhode Islanders are insured through HealthSource RI, 90 percent of whom have received federal subsidies to make their coverage more affordable.
TrumpCare in Rhode Island would:
- Put health insurance coverage for more than 70,000 people at risk
- Increase costs for older adults buying standard coverage through HealthSource RI by as much as $3,700 per year
- Put as many as 8,000 Rhode Island jobs at risk
- Eliminate $8 million a year in federal funding for public health work
- Put treatment for 2,500 people with opioid-use disorder at risk.
“The Affordable Care Act has meant expanded access in Rhode Island to the kind of preventive services and care that are central to our work to ensure that no person’s health depends on his or her zip code, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, level of education, or level of income,” said Nicole Alexander-Scott, MD, MPH, Director of the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH). “Funding through the Affordable Care Act supports a wide range of vital public health initiatives, including work in the areas of lead poisoning prevention, immunization, tobacco control, sexual violence prevention, and disease surveillance. All of this work has real, tangible impacts on people’s lives here in Rhode Island, and we will absolutely fight to make sure that it is maintained.”