WASHINGTON, D.C. (WKBN) – As lawmakers on Capitol Hill take the first steps to repeal the Affordable Care Act, also known as “Obamacare,” Ohioans and others across the country are wondering how this move will affect their healthcare coverage.
Sharon Grover and her family operate a farm in northern Trumbull County. They signed up for the Affordable Care Act when it was first offered years ago.
Now she says it’s just created more issues for them.
“We pay a high premium every month. Our deductible is high and the biggest problem is most doctors won’t accept our insurance, or hospitals.”
Grover said these days, the family pays for most healthcare out-of-pocket rather than worry over what will be covered.
She said the system needs serious change.
“The people in Washington, they don’t live where we live. They can’t understand our struggles that we go through, especially the small business owner.”
Early Thursday morning, members of the Senate approved what may be the very first steps in the process of repealing and replacing Obamacare.
Republican Senator Rob Portman said the idea is to get healthcare costs down and give people more choices. He voted in favor of the measure, which now goes to the House.
Portman said he wants to keep language covering patients with preexisting conditions while also making sure those getting coverage now are not left without. Still, he said those changes are not going to happen anytime soon.
“The discussion is it’s a two- or three-year process.”
Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown called the vote “morally outrageous” and “reprehensible,” arguing Republicans have no plans to replace what they repeal.
He said nearly a million Ohioans will lose their coverage.
“If you start the process without a replacement, that the insurance market will collapse, insurance companies will start to pull out, premiums go up.”
But Portman said the system was already collapsing anyway.
“Insurers were pulling out, costs were skyrocketing, so now there’s an opportunity for us to begin the process of moving to a new system. In the meantime, though, we’ve got to help protect those people who are currently covered.”
Grover is just hoping lawmakers come up with changes that will actually work.
“They need to talk to people like us that are middle class people, or even the people that don’t have a lot of money, to try to make sense of this,” she said.
The House is slated to vote on the measure Friday.