January 12, 2017 6:41 PM
CAMDEN, N.J. (CBS) — The Republican-controlled Congress took a major step towards delivering one of President-elect Donald Trump’s major campaign promises, but one Democratic senator from New Jersey doesn’t think his Republican colleagues have a better plan.
They have kick-started efforts to repeal and replace President Barack Obama’s landmark legislation — the Affordable Care Act..
CBS 3’s Cleve Bryan reports there’s high anxiety for those in the Delaware Valley who depend on Obamacare.
“If it goes away, I might not have insurance,” Nolybel Martinez said.
Martinez said Obamacare helped her get insurance, however, recent polls show America is evenly split on whether or not it should be replaced.
“Right now it works and it works well,” Kenneth Cole of Pennsauken said. “A whole lot of people have health care right now.”
“You know, Obamacare doesn’t work, but they need something else in place before they enact to repeal it,” said Rob Rudley of Pennsauken. “There’s too many people that are vulnerable out there.”
Health experts said the health care law helped nearly 500,000 New Jerseyians get insurance for the first time because it expanded Medicaid funding and gave subsidies to people buying their own insurance.
“Were those things to go away without having a way to provide coverage to people, we’re talking about people no longer receiving health insurance and having no access to care other than the emergency room,” said Linda Schwimmer with New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute.
Schwimmer said cutting subsidies would cause the most people to lose insurance, but there are also concerns people who still have insurance might lose some preventative care services and women might have to pay more than men to buy insurance.
While Trump said this week repealing and replacing Obamacare will happen simultaneously, Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., doubts his colleagues across the aisle have a solution for overhauling the entire health care system.
“So the way they are going about this alone is going to put millions of Americans in danger, and the fact they haven’t told America, the transparency, this is what we are replacing health care with, is unacceptable,” Booker explained.
Experts said even if Obama is repealed tomorrow without a replacement, it probably won’t affect most Americans until 2018 when new insurance policies go into effect.