EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — A major cornerstone of President-elect Donald Trump’s campaign could have an impact here in Rhode Island.
As part of his Contract with the American Voter, Trump promised to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act — known as Obamacare — as soon as he took office; replacing it with Health Savings Accounts, the ability to purchase health insurance across state lines, and letting states manage Medicaid funds.
“I am going to ask Congress to send me a bill to repeal and replace, finally, Obamacare — It’s a disaster,” Trump said at one point.
Sen. Jack Reed said if the ACA were to be repealed, it could impact thousands of people in Rhode Island who are signed up for health insurance through HealthSourceRI or some who receive Medicaid.
Obamacare also expanded Medicaid to cover an additional 77,000 Rhode Islanders, and a full repeal would eliminate coverage for them.
“I think the prudent thing is to go ahead and make changes where they are due and justified,” said Rhode Island Sen. Jack Reed Thursday morning. “But a repeal would be very disruptive and very costly and leave thousands and thousands of Rhode Islanders without access to affordable healthcare.”
Representatives from HealthSourceRI responded to the concept of repeal with a statement, reading in part: “We are prepared to react to any changes that may be made at the federal level. In the meantime, our primary focus is to continue working hard to provide the customer service Rhode Islanders need to enroll in coverage during Open Enrollment season.”
Completely dismantling Obamacare is expected to face hurdles.
President-elect Trump has two options for that: He’d need 60 votes in the Senate to pass a repeal. Or, he’d have to use the Senate’s Budget Reconciliation Process, which only requires 51 votes.
As of Thursday, Trump had not released a detailed plan or procedure related to dismantling Obamacare.
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