Concerns grow across East Texas over future of Affordable Healthcare Act

Concerns grow across East Texas over future of Affordable Healthcare Act

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - With 16 days left until Donald Trump becomes president, real groundwork is beginning with a Republican-led Congress to change the Affordable Healthcare Act. The question is will it go away or just have minor changes.

"The Obamacare Repeal Resolution will be the first item up in the New Year.," said Republican Majority Leader Sen Mitch McConnell.

Democrats are countering with a counter offer.

"At the end of the day, where Obamacare can be improved, it can, but don't repeal it, but let's be careful of how we're going to replace it," said New York Democrat Steve Israel said.

In Texas, a record amount of people have signed up for the program with 775,669 sign ups through December 19. East Texas navigators are making sure to let people know nothing is changing for now.

"A lot of people are concerned that the penalty will affect their family because it is higher than the previous years,"  said Burke healthcare navigator Alejandra Padierna. "At least for 2017, we know nothing will be changing. Things will remain unchanged. You will still be able to enroll in the market place, qualify for tax credits. The tax penalties still apply. Everything else after that may take a few years."

Padierna said it is hard to know what changes are coming, but she said she feels some aspects should stay the same.

"I guess we can all agree that the Affordable Care Act is not perfect ,but some of the things the Affordable Care Act has done is protect consumers against insurance companies," Padierna said. "It used to be if you were already sick, you couldn't buy health insurance, so people were discriminated against for having a pre-existing condition."

So with the 115th Congress now on the clock, time will tell if this is the beginning of the end of the Affordable Healthcare Act.

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