President-elect Donald Trump is promising to quickly repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) – also known as Obamacare. If that happens, what will it mean for the roughly 200,000 Arizonans who have health coverage through the ACA?
According to a recent story in Cronkite News/Arizona PBS, perhaps not much…..at least not right away.
…health policy experts say that whatever Trump and the Republican Congress do or do not do to Obamacare after they take office next month, those who have enrolled in the marketplace are “more than likely” to keep their coverage for 2017.
That’s because coverage is good for a year even if opponents could halt the program on Day One – and published reports indicate Republicans in Congress may not be interested in cutting people off cold turkey, but in quickly enacting a repeal that would gradually phase out the law.
According to the story, which also ran in the Tucson Sentinel, the number of Arizonans who may be affected in the long-term by a repeal of Obamacare could be much higher than 200,000.
DJ Quinlan, spokesman for the Alliance for Healthcare Security, puts the number in Arizona closer to 400,000. That includes not just people getting coverage directly but those who were able to get coverage because of other parts of the law, such as its ban on denying patients with pre-existing conditions, or its provision letting children stay on a parent’s policy until age 26.
“The fact is that those who are in favor of ACA repeal have not released a plan,” Quinlan said. “We believe that it is highly irresponsible to repeal the ACA without having an immediate replacement.”
He said patients won’t be the only ones hit if there is no plan to replace the Affordable Care Act – doctors and hospitals would be hurt, too.
“Here in Arizona, we have benefited tremendously by the additional federal funding that allowed expansion of the state’s Medicaid program,” Quinlan said.
If that 400,000 number is accurate and you took all of those people and put them into one place….it would be the fourth largest city in the state of Arizona (behind only Phoenix, Tucson, and Mesa). All to say – a huge number of Arizonans are likely to feel the effects of any decision that repeals and replaces the current law.
Let us know how you think the next few months will shake out, and whether you believe a new health law (that replaces Obamacare) should further the goal of achieving better care, better health and lower cost for the people of our state. Generating conversations around the health issues making headlines is another way we are working toward our long-term goal of one day making Arizona the Healthiest State in the Nation!