RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Late Wednesday night, while many were asleep, the Senate took the first step in dismantling President Barack Obama's health care law. It passed a measure that eases the way for new legislation that will repeal or reform the Affordable Care Act.
A healthcare policy professional at VCU said, "without a replacement plan, it could be hugely disruptive."
Dr. Peter Cunningham is a professor of health policy research at VCU. He says the actions by the new administration and congress could hurt the 400,000 Virginians who get their health insurance through the federal marketplace.
He adds that will also impact the rest of us through "the hospitals, health systems, and other healthcare providers who, again, for the past five years or more have been retooling and reorganizing in order to adapt to the reforms that are part of the ACA," Dr. Cunningham told NBC12.
Even before any changes are made, the uncertainty of what's to come can be a burden on health care providers.
President-Elect Trump is adamant about repealing the Affordable Care Act but hasn't announced what any new plan would be.
"We're going to be submitting, as soon as our secretary is approved, almost simultaneously, shortly thereafter, a plan. It'll be repeal and replace. It will be essentially simultaneously," Trump said.
Hospitals in rural areas are already suffering. Some have closed. Dr. Cunningham says it's likely that trend continues and folks outside of bigger cities will lose access to care.
Democratic Senator Tim Kaine says he recently met with hospital administrators and healthcare professionals about all of this. Kaine said of hospitals, "If they can't understand what the healthcare system is going to be, they have to put all of their plans on ice and wait until there's a solution, and that will cost jobs and it will also hurt the quality of healthcare that hospitals are able to deliver."
With the work to repeal the Affordable Care Act already moving forward, the question is how far along is a new plan? The President-Elect said, "very complicated stuff and we're gonna get a health bill passed. We're gonna get health care taken care of in this country."
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