Updated April 25 at 4:56pm

Obama administration highlights R.I. health care improvements in defense of Affordable Care Act

In response to continued criticism of Obamacare by Republican members of Congress, the White House released figures Thursday for each state, including Rhode Island, illustrating the effect that a repeal of the Affordable Care Act would have locally. More

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Obama administration highlights R.I. health care improvements in defense of Affordable Care Act

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PROVIDENCE – In response to continued criticism of Obamacare by Republican members of Congress, the White House released figures Thursday for each state, including Rhode Island, illustrating the effect that a repeal of the Affordable Care Act would have locally.

The statement by the Obama administration underscored the various forms of health care assistance that Rhode Islanders have already received under the Affordable Care Act, noting that the repeal of the plan urged by Republicans would “undermine or eliminate them across the board, reversing critical consumer protections and driving up costs.”

According to the release, 225,000 individuals with private insurance in Rhode Island gained coverage for at least one free preventive health care service – including mammograms, birth control or immunizations – in 2011 and 2012. Another 87,100 Medicare beneficiaries in the Ocean State have received at least one preventive service so far during the first eleven months of 2013, at no out-of-pocket cost.

The administration figures also showed that 172,000 Rhode Islanders have now gained access to better mental health care or substance abuse treatment through expanded benefits and parity protections under Obamacare.

Non-discrimination for individuals with pre-existing conditions, a centerpiece of the Affordable Care Act, was emphasized in the Obama administration analysis of the effect of the law’s possible repeal.

As many as 463,000 Rhode Islanders with pre-existing conditions like asthma, cancer and diabetes, including as many as 54,000 children, could risk losing their health coverage or having to pay higher prices because of their health status if the act were repealed, the release said.

Uninsured Rhode Islanders, 101,000 thousand of them, have gained new health insurance options through Medicaid or private plans in the new health care marketplace because of the Affordable Care Act, according to the statement.

Finally, in the first 10 months of 2013, according to the White House, 10,600 Rhode Island seniors and people with disabilities saved an average of $677 on prescription medications because of the Affordable Care Act’s narrowing of Medicare’s so-called “donut hole.”

According to the White House statement, Republicans in Congress have tried and failed to repeal Obamacare more than 40 times.

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