6 lesser-known ACA provisions that would be lost with repeal

While many people are aware of the vital provisions of the ACA, “Obamacare” has other lesser-known statutes worth preserving.

With Congressional Republicans edging closer to making good on their vow to repeal the ACA, millions of Americans indicate a more favorable view of President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare law and many are worried about losing its insurance benefits, including provisions that guarantee coverage for people with pre-existing conditions and allow children to stay on their parents’ insurance until age 26.

But if the ACA is cut back or replaced, numerous other, lesser-known provisions could be at risk of disappearing, too, according to Kaiser Health News.

Some provisions — many of which people don’t associate with the health law — have evaded the larger discourse and debate around the ACA and have garnered broad public support.

Here are six ACA provisions that could disappear if the law is repealed, according to Kaiser Health News.

  • Calorie counts at restaurants. Under the ACA, most restaurants and fast food chains that have at least 20 stores are required to post calorie counts for their food options. Although some criticized this rule, the food industry generally accepted it because posting calorie counts was seen as easier than other options, such as imposing taxes on sugary foods or drinks. However, whether or not knowledge of calories deters people from choosing unhealthy options is still unknown, according KHN’s report.
  • Required breaks for breastfeeding mothers at work. The ACA requires employers to provide women who are breastfeeding with breaks during the work day to express milk for up to a year after giving birth. The rules state that women must have access to a private room to do so, other than a bathroom, per the report. Additionally, most health plans must offer breastfeeding support and tools, such as breast pumps, with no out-of-pocket expenses for the mother.
  • Limits on surprise costs from hospital emergency room trips. All health plans must charge consumers the same co-payments or co-insurance for out-of-network emergency care that they charge for in-network emergency care. The ACA also requires all nonprofit hospitals to publish online a written financial assistance policy that clearly details whether it offers free or discounted care, as well as eligibility requirements. Hospitals must charge lower rates to patients who are eligible for their financial assistance programs, per Kaiser’s report.
  • Community health assessments for nonprofit hospitals. The ACA requires nonprofit hospitals to conduct community health needs assessments every three years to demonstrate how they positively affect the health of the community and justify the billions of dollars in tax exemptions they receive.
  • Ability for women to choose their own OB/GYN. Under the ACA, most insurance plans must allow women to select an obstetrician/gynecologist without a referral from their primary care physician. Although most states already enforced this, those laws did not apply to self-insured plans, which are commonly offered by large employers. The ACA extended these provisions to all new health plans, based on details of the report.
  • Coverage assurances for children with autism and people with degenerative diseases. The The ACA requires insurers to cover treatment for children with autism, such as speech therapy, and rehabilitation therapies, such as walking and talking again after a stroke.

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