by Dr. Bill Rawls
Posted 2/10/17

Repealing Obamacare was one of President Trump’s biggest campaign promises. That may be easier said than done, and at this point it appears the current administration won’t toss the whole thing out. However, chances are that he and Congress intend to make changes to it that will affect how you will take care of your health in the future.

One of the main provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) prevents health insurance companies from denying coverage to people with established chronic illness. It also prevents insurance companies from dropping people if they should become chronically ill. Of course this is highly desirable for people who have a chronic illness, but there is a drawback to this provision: it contributes to the inflation of health insurance costs.

If insurance companies can’t dump bad risks, costs go up for everyone. To compensate for the cost increase, the ACA requires everyone, even young healthy people, to buy health insurance (or pay a tax penalty). In other words, young and healthy people are forced to pay for those who are chronically ill. Yet, many of those people have signed up for insurance just to avoid the penalty, but are not paying the premiums (but that’s another story).

This doesn’t seem totally fair, but there are no easy solutions; somebody has to pay the bill. If the ACA is repealed, a huge population of chronically ill people will lose coverage. When they inevitably show up at the emergency room in dire straits, hospitals and doctors will be forced to absorb the cost. With medical reimbursements already cut to the bare bones, this could bankrupt many hospitals.

Therefore, going backwards is impractical. More than likely, the provision requiring everyone to buy insurance will stay in place and the provision preventing insurance companies from denying coverage will also stay, but costs may go up dramatically for people with chronic illness — possibly more fair, but still not ideal.

This means that if you have a diagnosis on record of a chronic condition, you’re going to pay more… possibly a lot more. This alone stands as a tremendous incentive for you to stay healthy — and to limit your use of our imperfect healthcare system to things like wellness visits and acute transient events such as a flu or virus.

If you have a chronic condition, you owe it to yourself to make every effort to restore your health, maintain it optimally and avoid reliance on drug therapies that trap you in a state of managed illness (which often involves managing the side effects that often accompany those same drugs, too).

In this day and age, everyone needs health insurance and access to the medical system, but a smart strategy is keeping your physical slate as clean as possible to avoid potentially crippling costs. The best way to do that is to embrace lifestyle changes and herbal therapies. Any investment you make in protecting your health will be more than offset by lower health insurance premiums. Your body (and your wallet) will thank you.