By Maria Cadenas, Executive Director of Santa Cruz Community Ventures
The fact that medical debt is the number one reason for personal bankruptcy in the US should be guidance enough to recognize the danger of removing healthcare coverage from millions of families. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) ensures that getting healthy is not a gateway to poverty and its repeal would be an economic disaster.
The ACA's expansion of Medicaid, its consumer protection provisions, and the elimination of antiquated medicaid Asset Limit policies all work together to ensure families can focus on getting healthy and not on how to avoid poverty - which usually puts a family in a tough position of having to choose between getting their medication or paying the rent.
Consider that 36% of Santa Cruz County households are only three months away from poverty and that the cost of poverty is a burden shared by the entire community. In fact, studies have shown that the cost to the U.S. associated with childhood poverty alone total about $500B per year, or the equivalent of nearly 4 percent of GDP.
And let's not forget the thousands of well-paying healthcare jobs that have become their own economic engine in our communities. In Santa Cruz County the repeal of the ACA would costs us $314M per year, and this just accounts for the repeal of the Medicaid expansion.
The ACA provides better healthcare to our communities and is an effective economic engine. Its repeal would be a disastrous option for our local economies. Take a moment to share your story on how the ACA has made you healthier.