The incoming Trump administration and a Republican Congress are vowing a partial repeal of the Affordable Care Act, but they’re vague about a replacement plan.
A new report from the Urban Institute says a repeal could cost as many as 30 million Americans access to health care, including some 2.6 million people in Texas.
Patrick Bresette, director of the Children’s Defense Fund-Texas, says repealing Obamacare could bring unintended consequences to the health care market and the U.S. economy.
“There should be no way that Congress is allowed to repeal this without a clear plan of what they are going to replace it with, or pulling out certain aspects of it,” he stresses. “We’ve likened it to the game Jenga, where you pull out one block and you think you’ve only dealt with that, but the ripple effects are going to be enormous.”
The study shows that a repeal would increase the number of uninsured Texans to 6.9 million people, keeping the state with the highest uninsured rate in the country.
Texas would also lose $62 billion in federal health care funding over a 10-year period.
Joan Alker, executive director of the Center for Children and Families at Georgetown University, says that under the ACA, 95 percent of American children now have health insurance.
“But now Congress is poised to take a U-turn and taking away affordable coverage options which would actually double the number of uninsured kids,” she states.
Bresette adds that it’s not just the poor who have benefited from Obamacare.
“All of us are paying a little bit less for health insurance than we might,” he points out. “We’ve got protections for pre-existing conditions, elderly people on Medicare benefited from improvements in prescription drug costs. So I think that it’s important to remember that we’ve all benefited one way or another.”
The report says the “repeal through reconciliation” plan could cut financial assistance with premiums, individual and employer mandates and the Medicaid expansion, while keeping some reforms such as a ban on exclusions for pre-existing conditions.