Will Obamacare repeal leave people in the lurch?

As Congress moves forward on a resolution to repeal the Affordable Care Act, experts have warned such a measure could crash the law’s commercial insurance program, jeopardizing coverage for 11.5 million Americans, including more than 230,000 Ohioans.

But local industry leaders remain hopeful that congressional Republicans — who are leading the charge to repeal the health insurance law, commonly known as Obamacare — will come up with a strategy for stabilizing the markets and develop a replacement plan that would allow them to continue to provide coverage for thousands of new members.

“We take them at their word that they are interested in repealing the Affordable Care Act. (But) there don’t seem to be too many elected officials in Washington who want to leave people in the lurch,” Jon Allison, executive vice president for business development at downtown Dayton-based CareSource, told the Dayton Daily News and WHIO-TV Channel 7 during an interview in November.

CareSource, primarily a nonprofit Medicaid managed care provider, had about 124,000 marketplace customers in four states, including about 76,000 in Ohio, at the end of open enrollment for 2016. The company has attributed much of its employment growth in recent years to its growing business under the health insurance law.

Congress has already taken steps to repeal the law even before President-elect Donald Trump takes the oath of office. Trump has pledged to replace the law simultaneously with a less costly alternative.

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On Thursday, the U.S. Senate passed a budget resolution that would allow it to make budget-related changes to de-fund key parts of Obamacare, such as federal funding for Medicaid expansion and premium tax credit subsidies for the vast majority or people who have signed up for marketplace coverage under the law. The U.S. House of Representatives is scheduled to vote on the measure later this afternoon.

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