ACA Repeal Could Leave Thousands Without Coverage In Buncombe County

Jan 17, 2017

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Its future is very much in doubt, but the Affordable Care Act is still the law of the land.  In North Carolina, signups for health insurance thanks to the law are at their heaviest pace since it took effect.  More than 530-thousand North Carolinians have signed up for coverage during this enrollment period under the Affordable Care Act according to Pisgah Legal Services. Jacquelyn Kiger, an attorney for Pisgah, says that’s the most for a single enrollment period in the state since the law took effect four years ago.  She adds that’s despite the fact there’s only one provider left that still offers coverage under the ACA for most of North Carolina, as well as Republicans in Congress and President-elect Donald Trump vowing to repeal the law…

“Now while steps may have been taken to begin a repeal process, I want to emphasize that those are just steps that have been taken", says Kiger.  "The ACA has not been repealed.  Open enrollment is happening right now, and runs through January 31st, 2017.  There is urgency here.  There is still time to enroll.”

The future of those plans if the law is repealed is very unclear.  The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office reports up to 18 million people nationally could lose their insurance in the first year after the ACA is repealed.  Equally unclear is how many people would be affected in Buncombe County.  Pisgah Legal Services reports more 23-thousand health plans were created by county residents through the ACA last year, but many of those covered more than one person or whole families, so the number of people who could lose their insurance is likely much higher.