Repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA), otherwise known as Obamacare, would likely leave many veterans uninsured, and demand for Veterans Affairs (VA) health care would surge, according to a recent report from the RAND corporation, a nonprofit research organization.
Many veterans rely on VA health care and are more likely to be insured than non-veterans. Those most impacted by new legislation to repeal would be older, low income, and less healthy veterans.
In 2013, it was recorded that one in ten non-elderly veterans were not insured and did not have VA coverage. VA health care will likely be faced with an influx of those seeking care if health coverage changes and would find their resources strained because of it.
“Some veterans who lose health insurance coverage as a result of ACA repeal will become more likely to seek care from the VA health system, leading to additional strain on a health care system that already faces challenges in ensuring adequate capacity,” said Michael Dworsky, lead author of the study and RAND economist.
Not all veterans are eligible for VA care, and even those that are don’t always enroll in the program. Veterans who do enroll in the VA health system may still seek treatment elsewhere for many reasons.
Due to these variables, any changes in non-VA health insurance, like Obamacare, will majorly impact veterans and the VA.
The researchers assessed the possible ramifications of changes to the ACA by looking at how many veterans received health care and the source of care. Once they had enough data, they projected how coverage for veterans would have been affected if the ACA had been repealed or changed in 2015.
The ACA reduced the numbers of uninsured veterans and VA-covered veterans who lacked non-VA insurance, and according to the research,m any future changes or a repeal would impact both the VA and veterans on a broad scale.
By Kay Vandette, Earth.com Staff Writer