Coloradans worry about the future of their health care

Posted at 4:50 PM, Oct 14, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-14 20:41:48-04

DENVER -- President Donald Trump will "immediately" halt payments to insurers under the Obama-era health care law, according to ABC News. They're called cost-sharing subsidies, meant to reduce co-pays and deductibles for people with modest incomes.

This latest move is scaring some local Coloradans, such as local lawyer Erin B. Eastvedt, who have relied on Obamacare to get ahead. 

"It's no understatement to say that the Affordable Care Act made this law firm possible," Eastvedt told Denver7.

That's because Eastvedt has a pre-existing condition.

"Up until the adult pre-existing protections of the Affordable Care Act that kicked in in 2014, owning a business was simply out of the question," said Eastvedt. "I would have never been able to get health insurance."

She also benefits from cost-sharing subsidies to lower health care costs so she can put more money into her business. She is trying to wrap her head around President Trump's decision to stop payments that were compensating insurance companies.

"It makes no sense. It doesn't help anyone," she said.

Adam Fox is worried too. He leads the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative.

"We're not here to endorse political parties or politicians. We're hear to be the voice for consumers," he said.

Fox puts it this way: People with low-to-moderate incomes will still qualify for cost-sharing subsidies but now insurance companies won't be compensated by the government. Fox says insurers will be forced to make up the balance in other ways.

"There are around 70,000 to 80,000 people that enroll through our individual marketplace that don't get tax credits. They're going to end up paying much higher premiums because of this," Fox said.

According to that same ABC News report, the White House says the government cannot legally continue to pay the cost-sharing subsidies because they lack a formal authorization by Congress.

President Trump also signed an executive order directing insurance companies to design insurance plans that would offer lower premiums outside the requirement of Obamacare.

For Eastvedt, she's worried what will happen to her business if Obamacare is dismantled even more, something President Trump has promised from the very beginning.

"It's not just about me. How many of me do you think there are in the state of Colorado? How many of me are there in the Unites States?"