‘I’m scared for my kids.’ Why Granite Staters fear an ACA repeal by Trump

One day before the 14th anniversary of the Affordable Care Act State Senator Rebecca Perkins Kwoka (right) said 160,000 people in New Hampshire could lose health insurance if the ACA was repealed, as Trump has promised to do repeatedly. (Colin Booth/Granite Post)

By Colin Booth

March 22, 2024

“I’m scared for my kids and their future if he’s given the opportunity to take away our insurance, and our ability to access life saving medications.” 

On Friday morning Amber MacQuarrie, a mother from Manchester, shared how her family relies on the healthcare access provided by the Affordable Care Act (ACA), one day before the program’s 14th anniversary. 

Amber said her daughter, Olivia, who has Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, which causes her to experience chronic pain and mobility issues, and who stood by her side as Amber spoke through tears, said Olivia received critical treatment from insurance coverage she was only able to receive because of the ACA. She said she was afraid of what could happen if Republicans were to retake power and repeal the program, as they have repeatedly attempted over the last 14 years.

“We’re just one family out of millions. One family out of thousands of Granite Staters. One disabled child that would be impacted detrimentally if Donald Trump is allowed to terminate the ACA as he’s threatened to do,” Amber said at a press conference held by the New Hampshire Biden-Harris campaign. “The attacks Donald Trump is making against the Affordable Care Act is an attack on me. They are an attack on my family and they are an attack on our ability to thrive here in New Hampshire.”

Throughout his presidency, Donald Trump took many actions to undermine or dismantle the ACA. His administration made efforts to reduce outreach and enrollment opportunities in ACA’s insurance exchanges and cut ACA subsidies to insurance companies, among other initiatives aimed at weakening the ACA framework.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA), commonly known as Obamacare, was passed by the United States Congress and signed into law by President Barack Obama on March 23, 2010. It was designed to expand access to health insurance coverage by providing subsidies for low- and middle-income individuals, prohibiting insurance companies from denying coverage based on pre-existing conditions, and establishing state-based insurance exchanges. It also includes provisions to improve healthcare quality and affordability through measures such as expanding Medicaid eligibility, implementing preventive care services without cost-sharing, and regulating insurance industry practices.

Recently Trump has escalated his threats to repeal the ACA, making repeated public statements about his intent to “terminate” the health care law.

RELATED: Senator Hassan calls for more affordable care for New Hampshire seniors in Manchester roundtable

Corinne Potvin, a New Hampshire small business owner, said the ACA allowed her to receive insurance coverage without fear of discrimination routinely practiced by insurance companies prior to the law’s implementation.

“At that time before the ACA, it was perfectly legal for a health insurance company to deny coverage for pre-existing conditions. If it was in your medical charts, it was a preexisting condition and it was also perfectly legal to charge a woman more for her coverage than a man for comparable policy … The woman could lose her health insurance coverage for getting pregnant,” Potvin said.

“The idea of reversing this law is throwing Americans back into unknown scenarios, financial ruin, missing critical preventative care going without medication, in my mind is just plain cruel. Donald Trump wants to gut the Affordable Care Act and rip health care away from tens of thousands of Granite Staters like me who rely on it.”

New Hampshire reached record-high enrollment in the ACA Marketplace in 2024 with 62,905 residents enrolling in coverage by December 23, 2023. This figure surpassed the previous record set in 2016, when 55,183 people signed up during open enrollment.

State Senator Rebecca Perkins Kwoka expanded on the impact the program has had on the state and warned about how things could change in New Hampshire under Republican leadership.

“330,000 of those people right here in New Hampshire could lose the Medicare benefits they rely on; 160,000 people in New Hampshire benefiting from the Affordable Care Act marketplace insurance and Medicaid expansion could lose their coverage,” Senator Perkins Kwoka said.

The senator also talked about how things could have changed if then-Senator Kelly Ayotte – who is running for Governor this year – could have affected the ACA not just for New Hampshire, but for the nation.

“If our Senator, Maggie Hassan, hadn’t beat Kelly Ayotte by those 1,017 votes, the Affordable Care Act would not be here today. It would have been repealed…. Those 1,017 New Hampshire votes saved health care for millions, like our families that are here today. But Donald Trump clearly still hasn’t given up. He’s campaigning again on the threat to repeal the Affordable Care Act if he gets reelected to a second term.”

Ayotte voted multiple times to repeal the ACA during her time in the U.S. Senate and was a consistent supporter of efforts to repeal or roll back key provisions of the law. In December 2015 she voted on a bill to repeal major parts of the ACA, which passed the Senate but was vetoed by then-President Barack Obama. Ayotte supported other repeal efforts and measures aimed at modifying various aspects of the ACA throughout her tenure in the Senate.

Author

  • Colin Booth

    Based in Epsom, Colin Booth is Granite Post's political correspondent. A Granite State native and veteran political professional with a deep background in journalism, he's worked on campaigns and programs in battleground states across the country, ranging from New Hampshire, Texas, Pennsylvania and Washington D.C.

Politics

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