NPR Answers Your Questions On The Affordable Care Act : Shots - Health News A lot of people are confused about when and if Republicans can "repeal and replace" the Affordable Care Act. Kaiser Health News' Julie Rovner clears things up in the first of a series.
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What's Next For The Affordable Care Act? Your Questions Answered

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What's Next For The Affordable Care Act? Your Questions Answered

What's Next For The Affordable Care Act? Your Questions Answered

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RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

The Republican Congress is working to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act also known as Obamacare. Many of us are confused about what's exactly going on. We asked you to post your questions on Twitter and Facebook, and this morning, we're going to answer a couple of them. We've got Julie Rovner of our partner, Kaiser Health News, in the studio to help us out. Hi, Julie.

JULIE ROVNER, BYLINE: Hi, Rachel.

MARTIN: All right, let's start with a question many listeners posed about the Affordable Care Act. This is listener Steva Stowell-Hardcastle from Lewisburg, Pa.

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STEVA STOWELL-HARDCASTLE: I'm confused about what parts of the ACA have been repealed and when those changes take place.

MARTIN: All right. So, Julie, has anything changed yet?

ROVNER: Not in 2017. There have been some small changes that were made to the law over the previous seven years but nothing big...

MARTIN: The big repeal hasn't happened.

ROVNER: The big repeal has not happened yet, despite what your social media might say or what some headlines have intimated. What has happened is that the Republican Congress has taken the first step to enable a repeal of part of the law. So they passed a budget resolution that said that there will be legislation down the line. We haven't seen that legislation yet. And also, Congress can't repeal the entire law because of the way the budget rules work. So whatever they're going to do, they can't make the entire thing go away unless they had 60 votes in the Senate, which they don't have.

MARTIN: All right. So let's get to our next question, which is really the big one - several listeners posed this. Listener Kathryn Henry from Iowa City, Iowa, has this question.

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KATHRYN HENRY: If the ACA is repealed, what will happen to people like me who have purchased health insurance for 2017 through healthcare.gov and when?

MARTIN: Kathryn has Obamacare, and she's not sure what's going to happen - a lot of people in this situation.

ROVNER: That's right, and no one is really sure what's going to happen. But people who purchased coverage for this year, for 2017, are probably fine. Republicans say that they want to have what they call a smooth transition so that people will not have, you know, what Speaker Paul Ryan called, you know, have the rug pulled out from under them.

MARTIN: Even Donald Trump has said he doesn't want there to be a gap in care.

ROVNER: That's correct. The problem with that is that insurers are already reacting to we don't know what the rules are going to be for 2018, and they're already announcing that they're not going to offer coverage in 2018 in the individual market. We're only talking about 5 percent of the population here. But they're talking about dropping out because they don't know what the rules are going to be and because they have to tell the government whether they're going to participate in May. So Congress really only has until May or - unless they want to extend that deadline. That's the confusion. So the uncertainty means that we don't know really what it's going to look like in 2018. Unless something dramatic happens, people should be OK for 2017.

MARTIN: So people like Kathryn literally have to just wait and see. They can't do any planning for years ahead.

ROVNER: No, that's right, and the insurers can't do any planning for years ahead, which is one of the insurers' issues. They want Congress to act fast so they at least know what the rules are going to be for next year. And no one knows yet.

MARTIN: Julie Rovner of our partner Kaiser Health News, she will be back next week to answer more of your questions about the ACA. You can tweet those questions - @MorningEdition. Use the hashtag #ACAchat. Hey, Julie, thank you so much.

ROVNER: Thank you.

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