ACA Replacement Bill Splits WNC Congressmen - Supporters Of Original Law Still Hopeful

Mar 7, 2017

'Save My Care' Nationwide Bus Tour Stop In Asheville
Credit Matt Bush BPR

As Republican leadership in D.C. introduce their plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, supporters of the law in Western North Carolina are clinging to hopes nothing to it will change.

Vijay Kapoor says he would not have been able to start his own business in Asheville without the Affordable Care Act, because the law allowed him to give up the healthcare he had at his previous job in a large company and buy new insurance.  “One of the things that the ACA allowed me was to purchase health care coverage on the individual market at a reasonable amount.  The other concern at the time was (denial based on) pre-existing conditions hadn’t been banned in terms of coverage.  And I was very concerned that had I left the job and it was found that my children had any pre-existing conditions, they would not have been able to be covered without the ACA.”

The pre-existing condition provision remains by and large in the Republican replacement measure.  But it’s changes to tax credits and funding formulas that has Jacqueline Kiger of Pisgah Legal Services worried.  “What we see are limitations to coverage and the affordability of coverage particularly as it relates to low-income individuals.”

But there’s a long road to approval for this bill, and disagreements within the GOP could be the deciding factor.  Western North Carolina is a great example of that, as the two Republicans who represent the region in the House of Representatives have differing views on the replacement bill.  Patrick McHenry supports it, while Mark Meadows does not.  Meadows, who chairs the hard-line conservative Freedom Caucus, wants all mandates from the Affordable Care Act repealed before any new law can take shape.  He says the replacement measure introduced this week still leaves too many ACA mandates in place.