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Reality Check w/ John Tracy: Will Congress meet Trump’s promises on Obamacare?

By John Tracy 5:36 PM February 2, 2017

You can always tell where people stand, depending on if they refer to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) or Obamacare.

Thousands of Alaskans are insured for the first time thanks to the ACA.

Thousands of others hate Obamacare.

Individual health plans are the most expensive in the country and Alaska is down to just one health care insurance provider.

In fact the only thing worse than Obamacare, may be its replacement, whatever that may be.

President Trump made the dismantling of Obamacare his first priority just hours after being sworn in. But the president’s powers are limited.

It will be up to a Republican Congress to repeal and replace Obamacare — and they are well aware of the risks of getting it wrong.

As Sen. Lisa Murkowski said on election night, there will be pressure on the Republican Party to govern.

It’s one reason Murkowski tried, but failed, to pass an amendment slowing the process down in an effort to get it right. But for once, Congress is moving quickly.

For his part, Trump has promised that the 20 million Americans who received health insurance under the Affordable Care Act would not lose it. In fact, the new plan, he says, would insure all Americans.

He promised the care would be better, and the cost would be less; much less.

Republican leaders in Congress, meanwhile, are specifically not saying that all Americans will have coverage.

And that should be a concern to more than 23,000 Alaskans taking advantage of Medicaid expansion.

We don’t know what the final plan will look like, but we know that it will likely allow the sale of insurance across state lines, which is an idea that should have been part of Obamacare.

And it will almost certainly eliminate the individual mandate to buy insurance along with its penalties.

Here’s what I know about insurance: the larger the pool, the lower the cost.

Obamacare wasn’t perfect — far from it — but those ready to pull the plug conveniently forget that 1 in 6 Americans were uninsured and the costs to businesses increased more than 130 percent in the ten years prior to that passage. I saw that first hand.

The promises Trump has made on health care reform are checks that Congress is going to have to cash.

Former Republican National Committee Chair Michael Steele said after 6 years of repeatedly voting to overturn Obamacare, he’s surprised his party doesn’t have a plan ready to go.

My hope is they take their time. Because if this is major surgery, they’ve only got one chance to get it right, and a little patience might be the best medicine for patients.

John’s opinions are his own, and not necessarily those of Denali Media or its employees. 

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