CHILLICOTHE (WCMH) — Todd Tinker works two part-time jobs that total 40 hours per week, but he didn’t have health insurance until he was able to purchase it as a result of the Affordable Care Act.
Tinker, who works for Chillicothe City Schools and Ross County Community Action, bought insurance off the exchange and gets a small subsidy because of his income.
“It gave me that relief knowing that I had that ability to go to a regular doctor and have ongoing care,” Tinker said.
But with the possibility of the ACA being repealed under President-elect Donald Trump, Tinker said he’s worried about losing his coverage.
President-elect Donald Trump said he’s now willing to leave parts of President Obama’s healthcare law in place.
Trump had campaigned on repealing Obamacare and replacing it with something else. But he told the Wall Street Journal he likes some of the provisions in the law and may keep them in place.
Two of those provisions include allowing young people to stay on their parents’ healthcare plan until the age of 26 and the provision that guarantees coverage to people with preexisting conditions.
“I like those very much,” Trump said, adding that he does plan to make massive changes to other parts of Obamacare. “Either Obamacare will be amended, or repealed and replaced.”
Still, there are a lot of unknowns about what could happen to the law.
“Everybody believes that healthcare should be morally fair,” said Kelsey Raines, the communications manager for the Universal Health Care Action Network of Ohio. “Everybody deserves to have good health and receive fair healthcare.
UHCAN Ohio said enrollment in coverage on healthcare.gov spiked the day after the election, with 100,000 people selecting plans that day. The organization said it hopes certain parts of the ACA remain in place.
“Preexisting conditions, you know, people can keep their plan, people can get free preventive care, young adults can stay on their parents’ plans,” Raines said.
For now, Raines said the organization is encouraging people to proceed as usual and sign up for whatever coverage they need.
Tinker, though, is concerned about eventually losing his coverage and having to go back to clinics for his care.
“Just going in and looking for a prescription because you know that you’re going to have to, that you are sick, you need an antibiotic or something like that,” Tinker said.
While the ACA has enrolled approximately 20 million Americans in healthcare coverage, it has driven up premiums and deductibles for many. People in middle income brackets are sometimes not eligible for subsidies and, in some cases, have seen sharp increases in costs.
“We have known since the enactment of the law that it was a flawed law, and we need to be about the business of perfecting that flawed law,” said Mike Abrams, the president & CEO of the Ohio Hospital Association.
Abrams said before the ACA and since it’s taken effect, every patient in Ohio who comes in to see a doctor gets seen.
Brian Miller, an insurance sales agent in Athens, said he’s seen both sides of the ACA, from clients who have been able to enroll in coverage to others whose premiums went up “drastically.”
“I’ve had clients in my office basically breaking down because they can’t afford their medical bills but they also can’t afford their insurance,” Miller said.
While the ACA has helped many get coverage, Miller said he thinks reform didn’t solve the issue. Instead, he said, it shifted the burden.
“It used to be the hardest for the uninsured that have preexisting conditions, that are of lower income but don’t qualify for Medicaid, the people that previously weren’t able to get insurance—it works fantastic for [them],” Miller said.
Now, Miller said that burden falls on people with slightly higher incomes who aren’t eligible for subsidies.
Still, the goal for many is to keep some elements of the ACA while ensuring people can still get covered at an affordable cost.
“As we repeal elements of the A-C-A, we don’t make things ruinous for the overall healthcare infrastructure and their communities,” Abrams said.
Miller and Raines both said they believe that if these changes do happen, they won’t be implemented any time soon.
The Wall Street Journal also asked Trump about the ongoing protests against his election nationwide. The president-elect said he will make bringing the country together a high priority.
“I want a country that loves each other,” Trump said. “I want to stress that.”
Trump added that the best way to ease tensions would be to “bring in jobs.”