#CostsOfRepeal: Congressman Paulsen Would End Cost-Saving and Life-Saving Preventive Care for 1,412,000 in Minnesota

Congressman Erik Paulsen’s obsessive attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act would end preventive health coverage that saves lives and reduces costs for 105 million Americans, including 1,412,000 people in Minnesota. Congressman Paulsen has voted time and again to repeal the Affordable Care Act and send us back to the days when insurance companies had free rein to deny coverage for prevention and then hike rates when patients got sick. The preventive care that Paulsen would take away includes immunizations for children and cancer screenings and mammograms for adults.

Data released by the Department of Health and Human Services shows that 105 million Americans, including 1,412,000 in Minnesota, have already received expanded health coverage for one or more preventive services because of the Affordable Care Act, but Congressman Paulsen’s House Republicans have voted 46 times to take it away.

“In Minnesota, the 1,412,000  people who have received preventive care like immunizations and cancer screenings would be on their own if Congressman Paulsen had his way and repealed the health care law. Congressman Paulsen is obsessed with taking those screenings away that his Republican Congress voted 46 times to repeal the Affordable Care Act and send us back to a broken system that let insurance companies do whatever they wanted and left too many Americans without a way to see doctors for needed preventive care,” said Emily Bittner of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. “Instead of helping middle class families take advantage of these new benefits and working to improve the law, Congressman Paulsen’s repeal plan would mean 1,412,000 people in Minnesota would lose access to life-saving preventive health services that keep costs down for all of us.”

Services that the people of Minnesota could lose access to if Congressman Paulsen’s repeal plan passes include:

o   For children – vision and hearing screening; developmental assessments; recommended immunizations; and screening and counseling to address obesity and help children maintain a healthy weight.

o   For adults under age 65 – recommended immunizations and cancer screening such as colonoscopies for those over 50; healthy diet counseling for those at high risk for chronic disease and obesity screening; cholesterol and blood pressure screening; screening for HIV; depression screening; and tobacco-use counseling.

o   For women under age 65 – additional preventive services such as recommended mammograms and Pap smears; well-woman visits; screening for gestational diabetes; and domestic violence screening and counseling.

BACKGROUND:

105 Million Americans Have Received Free Preventive Care Because of Affordable Care Act.  “About 71 million Americans with private health insurance plans received at least one free preventive health service — such as a mammogram or flu shot — in 2011 and 2012 because of the Affordable Care Act, the Obama administration said Monday. In addition, about 34 million people in traditional Medicare and Medicare Advantage plans also received at least one free preventive health service — such as an annual wellness visit — due to the health care law, according to a report released Monday by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). In total, about 105 million Americans have been helped by the preventive services coverage improvements in the Affordable Care Act, said the HHS, which is marking the third anniversary of passage of the law.” [US News & World Report, 3/18/13]

HHS: Preventive Care Covers Services Like Immunizations, Cancer Screenings, and Mammograms. HHS reported that preventive care for children included services like “regular pediatrician visits, vision and hearing screening, developmental assessments, immunizations, and screening and counseling to address obesity and help children maintain a healthy weight” and for adults, services like “recommended immunizations such as flu shots for all adults and meningococcal and pneumococcal vaccinations for high-risk adults; cancer screening including colonoscopy for adults 50 to 64; healthy diet counseling and obesity screening; cholesterol and blood pressure screening; screening for HIV; depression screening; and tobacco-use counseling.” The HHS reported that for women, preventive coverage would also include “cancer screening such as pap smears for those ages 21 to 64, mammograms for those ages 50 to 64, and colonoscopy for those ages 50 to 64… well-woman visits, screening for gestational diabetes, domestic violence screening and counseling.” [HHS.gov, March 2013]

House Republicans Have Voted 46 Times to Repeal or Dismantle the Affordable Care Act. “Republican elected officials have seen the Affordable Care Act as essentially unfixable—that’s why House Republicans voted 46 times to repeal or delay the implementation of the law, instead of working with the White House over the past three years to identify and solve problems within it of the sort that tend to accumulate in any such massive piece of legislation.” [The Atlantic, 11/27/13]