Federal health care repeal would affect tens of thousands in Maine

Federal health care repeal would affect tens of thousands in Maine

“The Affordable Care Act is the only reason I have health insurance, and I’m not alone,” said Katherine Record, a single mother living in Bangor. “For thousands of Mainers, this program is the only thing keeping them alive. Let’s be clear: full or partial repeal will definitely cost lives.”

Record, who is unable to work full time due to a disability, earns too much to qualify for coverage through Medicaid but far too little to afford insurance otherwise.

“I went through the Obamacare Marketplace. Today, I have a health insurance premium of $600, but because of the marketplace, I only pay about $170 per month,” she explained.

Record is one of more than 63,000 Mainers who receive a monthly premium support tax credit averaging $342 in order to afford coverage. Many more have benefited from other provisions of the Act, including a prohibition on denying coverage due to pre-existing conditions.

It’s not clear exactly how president-elect Donald Trump and a Republican Congress will go about attempting to repeal the law, also known as Obamacare. In the past they have passed bills repealing it completely with no alternative mechanism for coverage, but that was when they knew that President Obama’s veto would prevent their proposals from becoming law.

On Friday, Maine Senator Susan Collins expressed some opposition to a repeal of the ACA without a plan to continue some of its key provisions, including coverage for those who have purchased insurance through the marketplace.

“You can’t just drop insurance for 84,000 people,” Collins told the Press Herald. “I think what we need to focus on first is what would we replace it with and what are the steps that it would take to do that?”

Collins also said she had reservations about Republican plans to privatize Medicare.

Public opinion seems to be with Maine’s senior senator. In the latest national post-election poll, a 49% plurality of Americans now say they support keeping or expanding the Affordable Care Act, rather than repealing the law or scaling it back.

“In a year, my only daughter will graduate college. Like many young people, she’ll likely use the marketplace to buy her own affordable insurance until she gets her first job with benefits,” said Record. “I want it to be there for me and there for her.”

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