A Trump presidency equals an uncertain future for the Affordable Care Act. The president-elect has softened his stance on parts of President Barack Obama's signature health care legislation, but that’s not stopping state leaders from urging Californians to enroll in the health care exchange before Trump takes office.
“Twenty million Americans – 7 million Californians – ought to be very worried,” California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones said. “There’s no soft landing. The state of California cannot pick up the cost of this repeal. It’s not as though we’re going to be able to jump in and save people.”
President-elect Donald Trump has threatened to repeal and replace the “disaster known as Obamacare,” as he has called it on the campaign trail.
However, during his first meeting with Obama after winning the election, he said he is open to keeping popular provisions, such as requiring insurers to cover people with pre-existing conditions and allowing kids to stay on their parents’ insurance until age 26.
“Trump is a wildcard. I don’t think anyone can predict what he’s going to do,” economist David R. Henderson said.
Henderson is with Stanford’s conservative-leaning Hoover Institution and says some of Obamacare’s provisions considered “sacred cows” need to go to avoid a “downward spiral.”
“We might not repeal all of it, but I still have some hope we can repeal some of the worst parts,” Henderson said.
Some insurance brokers disagree.
“If they repealed it, it would throw the insurance markets into chaos. And the big insurance companies wouldn’t want that either,” said Michelle Montoya, chief operating officer of Filice Insurance in San Jose.
Montoya says a couple of clients have called to ask if their plans would change under Trump. She told them that even if Republicans can repeal Obamacare the day Trump takes office, it doesn’t undo people’s existing insurance contracts. Any changes would occur only after the contracts expire.
“What’s working is people have coverage; there’s no more excluding people with pre-existing conditions. Young people can be covered. There’s a lot more transparency in what the benefits are and what they are not. So all of those are very good things,” Montoya said. “What’s not working is the cost has not gone down, especially for small employers.”