Disabled Americans among millions at risk from Affordable Care Act repeal

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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released a report on Tuesday, Jan. 17, that estimated 18 million people would become uninsured if the Affordable Care Act was repealed without a back-up plan.

Some of those that are at risk of losing healthcare are those who are disabled.

The Arc of Harrisonburg and Rockingham, an organization that provides support and advocacy for people with intellectual disabilities, is urging elected officials to avoid axing the 2010 law.

"The biggest piece is just taking something away and not having anything that is there to replace it and worrying about people who have preexisting conditions," said Heather Denman, the Executive Director of the Arc.

The ACA made it illegal for an insurance provider to deny care because of needs the person already has.

"Most insurance plans are not going to cover [people with disabilities]. For the case of people with IDD, which is short for intellectual and developmental disability, that's a huge concern," said Denman.

In addition, the law, dubbed "Obamacare" by some, also bans companies from imposing dollar limits on health benefits and provides support to states' efforts to keep people out of institutions.

In a recent interview with the Washington Post, President-elect Donald Trump said he was nearing the completion of a plan that would provide "insurance for everybody." It remains unclear how this would be accomplished.

At the end of the month, the Arc plans to visit the Virginia General Assembly to urge action on other issues — including expanding Medicaid waivers and supporting inclusive education.