According to a recent Dan Jones and Associates survey, almost two thirds of Utahns want to see the Affordable Care Act repealed. Despite the strong opposition among voters, plenty of Utahns have enrolled in the ACA marketplace. Utah, along with Idaho and Montana, has some of the highest enrollment numbers among states in the Intermountain West.
If a repeal is successful, the question arises about what will happen to the healthcare of over 164,000 Utahns. Democratic state Rep. Rebecca Chavez-Houck said that it would be unwise for Congress to get rid of the ACA without a ready replacement.
“Definitely, issues related to preexisting conditions and the subsidies are the things that give me the gravest concern in terms of talking about repeal,” Chavez-Houck said. “Another thing that I would add is, what are they replacing it with? Policy-wise, process-wise, I just don’t understand the prudence of repealing something when you don’t know with any specificity what you’re replacing it with.”
Each of Utah’s four congressional districts have over 30,000 people enrolled in the ACA. In three of the four districts, that number is over 40,000. Utah has the highest percentage of children covered through the ACA, with 23 percent.
Chavez-Houck said that the GOP has not guaranteed that protections from discrimination based on preexisting conditions will remain federal law.
“What is the world going to look like if we go back to preexisting conditions being considered as a prohibition to be able to garner health insurance? Now, the Republicans continue to say that that’s not going to be removed and the issue of coverage for adult children up to 26 may not be removed, but there’s detail to the bill related to that. I guess we’re just supposed to take it at their world that these things will still be present,” she said.
Nationally, 43 percent of Americans want to see the ACA kept in place, albeit with some reforms, according to a post-election Gallup poll.