It’s a scary thing, to hear something that’s been lurking over you for decades get a name.
My therapist used words like “depression” and “anxiety.” Maybe some people take comfort in it. I didn’t. I met those labels face-to-face, for the first time, and no weight lifted from my shoulders. But it was a start.
It’s also evidence of a pre-existing condition. And if Obamacare’s repealed, it’s possible that people could be denied coverage for something like what I’m doing right now: Writing about their mental illness on websites and social media. That could include me, and millions of other Americans who’ve taken to the internet to give and take solace in the sharing of these intensely personal experiences.
There aren’t actually reports of insurance companies scrolling through Facebook feeds and rejecting claims because of a status update—yet. If the Affordable Care Act, which guarantees coverage to people with pre-existing conditions, gets repealed?
It’s absolutely something insurers could do.
“It depends on how the pre-existing condition is defined in the insurance policy, but it could very well be the case that you could be at risk even if you never saw a doctor or otherwise received any treatment for the condition,” Tom Baker, an expert in insurance law at Penn Law, told me. “The situation is that serious.”
In the GOP’s Obamacare replacement, pre-existing conditions are still covered. But there’s no guarantee it’ll survive Congress, seeing as Breitbart and plenty of Republicans have blasted the legislation for not being conservative enough.
Donald Trump’s failsafe plan is just as worrisome: Let Obamacare die, blame the Democrats, then try to pass something else in a few years. Even if the GOP plan passes, many experts think that without the individual mandate requiring people to buy insurance, the health insurance market could enter a “death spiral,” as not enough healthy young people sign up to subsidize the elderly and sick.
In other words, we’d be back where we started.