Obamacare patients concerned about possible repeal

Local News

With a possible congressional vote on the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, some patients with plans under Obamacare are concerned about losing their coverage. 

“Working everyday, one day – fine like you, next day – in the emergency room, couple hours later in ICU getting my end of life choices,” said Robynn Jaymes, who has worked as a radio personality for 94.9 Star Country since 2001. 

Jaymes was diagnosed with chronic pancreatitis. It almost killed her, and she lost her home and savings trying to pay medical bills.

She said the Affordable Care Act helped save her life.

“I saw once that my daily medication that I take four times a day – it’s a pain medication – would have cost me $300 out of pocket,” Jaymes said. “And that’s just one. I take about 20 medications a day.”

Jaymes has been on medical leave from her job for about a year. She said she is scared to think about what could happen if Obamacare is repealed, especially without a replacement.

“Without insurance, again, I would only imagine that physical shape would decline even more without medical treatment, without medical attention,” she said. “And that’s very frightening.”

Those in favor of repealing the Affordable Care Act argue it’s failing. Some Republican lawmakers want to repeal it now and work on replacing it later, saying they would have two years to come up with a replacement plan.

“The Obamacare repeal legislation will insure a stable two year transition period, which will allow us to wipe the slate clean and start over with real, patient-centered health care reform,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Consumer experts say repealing without a replacement leaves uncertainty.

“Everybody is kind of hanging there, waiting for decisions to be made, and they’re tough decisions, and it’s a complicated issue,” said Irene Leech, consumer studies associate professor at Virginia Tech.

That uncertainty leaves people like Robynn Jaymes uneasy.

“Don’t leave us hanging, please,” she asked of lawmakers. “I think it will cost lives, and I think that there’s no good excuse for that.”

We reached out to Congressman Bob Goodlatte (R-6th District) for this story. He sent WFXR News a statement, which reads: 

“While there are certainly some in the Sixth District who like their coverage under Obamacare, the House-passed reform bill includes a lengthy transition to help them find a new plan that includes the coverage they need. There is no denying that Obamacare has created real problems that are affecting families across the country, and that is why it must be repealed. Since 2013, insurance premiums for Virginians have increased an average of 77 percent and it’s estimated that 40 percent of counties in the U.S. will have only one insurance option next year. I have previously supported legislation that would repeal Obamacare with a two-year delay for lawmakers to craft a replacement to reduce insurance costs and increase access to care, and I would support it again. Maintaining the status quo is not an option. We must deliver affordable health insurance options to the American people and put patients before big government mandates. The House has already acted on legislation to repeal and replace Obamacare, and I urge the Senate to keep the process going and work towards a solution that will repeal Obamacare.”

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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