Concerns arise for health care affordability, access

1 in 10 people could be uninsured by 2022

BOSTON (WWLP) – Some Massachusetts residents fear their health care coverage is in jeopardy with Congressional Republicans inching closer to repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act.

Dozens of health care workers and advocates rallied at the state house Thursday, fighting for affordable health care for all Massachusetts residents.

1 in 10 people could be uninsured by 2022, according to the Urban Institute. Advocates told 22News they fear they will lose coverage if the American Health Care Act passes.

“It’s essential. It’s just like life. Without having food to eat, with out having a roof over your head, without having a shelter to cover you,” said Julie Gonzalez of 1199SEIU, a health care workers union. “It’s essential for everyone.”

Just a few weeks ago, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

The state relies on federal funding for MassHealth, the state’s Medicaid program, which insures nearly 1.9 million Massachusetts residents. Governor Charlie Baker estimates that replacing the Affordable Care Act would result in a $1 billion dollar loss in federal funding to Massachusetts.

Residents on MassHealth said they are concerned they won’t be able to afford much-needed medicine, doctors appointments and disability services.

Dan Harris of Boston Center for Independent Living told 22News he could lose funding for his wheelchair that helps him get around and live independently.

“Without my independence, I have nothing,” said Harris. “What that would mean is, I wouldn’t be able to do my job.” Under the American Health Care Act, health coverage subsidies would be distributed based on age instead of income.

The U.S. Senate has yet to vote on the American Health Care Act.