DALLAS - It is open enrollment time and many Texas are in the process of picking their plans through the Affordable Care Act. Many are anxious to find out what happens now that President-Elect Donald Trump says he may keep parts of the President Barack Obama’s health care law.
Melissa Renee Merket has stacks of medical bills and she just found out her insurance premiums under the Affordable Care Act are going up again.
“I’m paying $479 per month. I just got my letter two weeks ago and it’s going to jump to $688,” she said.
Merket is one of millions of Americans covered under Obamacare who say they’re struggling to make their monthly payments.
But with Trump, Obamacare could soon be gutted.
“Now we have President Trump coming who is asking us to do this so with a unified Republican government we can fix these problems,” House Speaker Paul Ryan said.
University of Texas – Dallas health care management professor John McCracken believes a full repeal is unlikely.
“It’s very popular and I don’t think Congress is going to repeal that,” he said.
Instead he believes parts of the law will be eliminated. First is the financial penalty for American who choose not to carry health insurance.
“Get rid of the individual mandate. It’s very unpopular with the public and almost impossible to enforce. But I don’t think the Democrats want to see it eliminated. Republicans certainly do,” McCracken said.
The second step could be eliminating government subsidies.
“Eliminate the cost sharing. Those are the subsidies given to people between 100 and 250 percent of the poverty level that allows them to pay their deductibles and their copays,” he said.
McCraken believes these changes would easily pass in the House of Representatives, but added Republicans don’t have a 60 vote majority in the Senate.
“So the Democrats can easily filibuster against any repeal of the ACA,” he said.
What may stay are the benefits millions of Americans agree on such as allowing children to stay on their parents’ health plan until they are 26 years old and banning insurers from denying coverage based on pre-existing conditions.
Merket, who is unhappy with the current state of Obamacare, plans to transition to her partner’s plan next year. But she’s open to the idea of a Trump-sized overhaul.
“Absolutely, I would definitely revisit it. If it came up with a plan that is affordable for me and my doctors are on it, I’m in,” she said.
McCracken said he expects changes to Obamacare on the Republican legislative agenda within three or four months after Trump is in office.