Millions of Texans could lose coverage if Obamacare is repealed

A patient room at St. David's South Austin Medical Center (KXAN Photo)
A patient room at St. David's South Austin Medical Center (KXAN Photo)

AUSTIN (Nexstar) — Republicans in Congress want to fast-track a bill to repeal Obamacare on President-elect Donald Trump’s desk the day he is sworn in as President.

President Barack Obama’s signature piece of legislation, the Affordable Care Act, commonly called Obamacare, is for people who don’t have access to job-based insurance, or can’t afford other plans. A report by the Urban Institute estimates more than 2.5 million Texans would lose health care coverage if Congress repeals and does not immediately replace Obamacare.

“Even when people lose their health insurance coverage, they still need health care. Right, the need for healthcare doesn’t go away,” said Stacey Pogue, senior policy analyst at the Center of Public Policy Priorities.

Republicans in Congress want an immediate vote to repeal the Obamacare act with a delayed implementation date.

Pogue said, “What everybody is having to guess at this point is what happens between the repeal vote and the implementation date? It could take years.”

Even if a replacement plan is written, that plan still needs to be approved by the U.S. House and Senate.

“So it’s a huge risk they’re taking, they’re taking it with Texans lives, they’re taking it with families’ economic security,” Pogue said. She explained health insurance is the ticket to access healthcare and also offers protection “from financial catastrophe if you get sick.”

U.S. Representative Kevin Brady, R-Conroe, is mapping out the repeal plan. What’s being called “Better Way Agenda,” the plan includes some portions of Obamacare. Like a provision that prevents insurers from denying coverage because of pre-existing conditions and the provision that allows children to remain on their parent’s health insurance policies until they’re 26 years old.

“We pay it through taxes, we pay for it through higher health insurance premiums, so if people lose coverage we are still on the hook for helping finance coverage for the uninsured.”