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HealthSource RI director: We’ll work with feds if Obamacare is repealed

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — President-elect Donald Trump has made clear his plans to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare.

“Obamacare is a complete and total disaster,” Trump said Wednesday during his first news conference since being elected. He decried high premiums and deductibles, but did not offer details on his replacement plan to lower those costs.

Since many of the state-run exchanges such as HealthSource RI depend on federal subsidies, local officials are waiting on Trump and Congress to put out a plan so they can see how Rhode Island will be affected.

Millions of Americans get health insurance through Obamacare. In Rhode Island, 30,000 residents are enrolled in commercial insurance through HealthSource RI, and another 70,000 are covered by Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion.

“In the event of changes that come down from the federal level, we look forward to working with the feds around maintaining levels of coverage,” said HealthSource RI Director Zachary Sherman.

Sherman said the number of uninsured Rhode Islanders has gone down from 12 percent to 4.5 percent under HealthSource RI, and more people have access to primary care.

“I don’t want to see us go backwards on that,” he said in an interview with Eyewitness News. “I want to make sure folks get the care they need when they want it.”

It’s unclear at this point what will happen to state-run health care exchanges under Trump’s plan, so Sherman said his focus is to continue open enrollment for HealthSource RI.

The president-elect said he doesn’t want there to be a delay in between repealing Obamacare and replacing it with a new program.

“[It] will most likely be on the same day or the same week,” said Trump. “But probably the same day…could be the same hour.”

Obamacare is still in effect for the time being, so if you’re in need of insurance, you have until the end of January to enroll in HealthSource RI. Click here to learn more »

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