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How Obamacare repeal could affect Virginians

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(Copyright by WSLS - All rights reserved)

By Chris Horne – WASHINGTON, D.C. (WAVY) – A recent study estimates millions of Virginians could see adverse effects on their health coverage if the Trump administration rolls back key provisions of the Affordable Care Act, as it has promised.

The Urban Institute completed the study in December. Lawmakers and patient care advocacy groups have cited its results, including members of two senate subcommittees who have questioned the nominee for Health and Human Services Secretary, Dr. Tom Price.

In questioning last week, Virginia Senator Tim Kaine told Price what he's hearing from his constituents.

"My experience of going around Virginia is huge amounts of fear."

Kaine said repeal of the ACA would have a profound effect on the Commonwealth.

"There's about half a million Virginians on the exchanges, and hundreds of thousands of others that have otherwise benefited," the senator said.

Kaine is part of the subcommittee questioning President Trump's nominee to run the department of Human Services.

Kaine and other lawmakers opposing repeal of the ACA, along with health care advocates, are pointing to the Urban Institute study. Here are some of its findings:

  • 685,000 Virginians stand to lose health coverage.
  • Coverage could be in jeopardy for 3,500,000 Virginians who have preexisting conditions, such as asthma, diabetes and cancer.
  • Nearly 3,000,000 million Virginians, including more than 800,000 children, could once again see restrictive annual and lifetime limits on their coverage.

But Price says people need to realize that many of these programs need to be improved.

"I think it's important to appreciate that there are challenges in these programs currently."

Trump's nominee to run HHS says there's no need for people to panic about their coverage.

"We want to provide stability to folks out there. They need to know that no rug will be pulled out from under them."

Kaine also said the administration's proposal to restructure Medicare would increase out-of-pocket costs for as many as 1,300,000 seniors in Virginia.