PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A record number of Americans will be covered by health insurance through the Affordable Care Act, beginning Sunday, even as Republican leaders are promising to repeal it.
Some 400,000 Pennsylvanians could lose coverage if the law is repealed, but insurers are lobbying to slow the repeal and make sure there’s a replacement.
Enrollment continues through January 31 for coverage in 2017, but beyond that, no one knows what to expect.
A lot is at stake for enrollees, providers and insurers such as Independence Blue Cross. CEO Dan Hilferty says it’s clear changes are coming and the insurance industry wants to make sure coverage remains available and affordable.
“We are very confident we’ll have a place at the table in discussing what reform might look like,” Hilferty said.
Insurers don’t want some parts of the existing law; many have pulled out of state exchanges. Blue Cross is the only insurer remaining in Southeastern Pennsylvania, for instance, but Hilferty says some aspects of the law need to remain.
“We think giving people as much opportunity to be part of an insurance program is a key foundational element to any health care reform,” he explained. Hilferty adds that there also needs to be a transition period, to give people time to adjust to whatever a new coverage system would look like.
“Healthcare reform is not a democrat. It’s not a republican. Healthcare reform is about getting as many people not only in our region, but nationally covered by some type of healthcare insurance.”
Some 22 million Americans have received coverage through the act, including half a million Pennsylvanians.