Valley residents react to new health care legislation meant to replace ACA

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- For a lot of folks, Covered California, the state's version of the Affordable Care Act, has been a lifesaver.

"I didn't have insurance prior to the Obamacare and I have chronic illnesses, and I have great insurance now when Obamacare passed," said Laila Elichai, Fresno.

Elichai is among those who praise the Affordable Care Act and worry about what's next.

"It did help me a great deal and now I'm concerned is the new Affordable Care Act going to cover me with my chronic illnesses."

Elichai is not alone with her concerns-- Gordon Paul is an insurance broker selling Covered California Policies. He's been hearing from a lot of confused customers.

"It just creates more questions, more concerns about change, and whether or not the change is going to be for the better."

One concern is the proposed new payment structure based on age not income. So, two people the same age but with big income differences could pay the same for insurance.

"Right now there's a big difference in premiums between those two, the person who's making less income is going to pay a much lower premium-- well if the change takes place those rates are going to be the same. And I'm not sure, that's going to raise a lot of concerns for people," said Paul.

Obamacare also allowed California to put more low income people on its MediCal system, the state version of Medicaid. The Republican plan reduces federal funding for the program.

"They might find themselves being bumped out saying you are not eligible for MediCal anymore," said Paul.

Paul believes Obamacare could be tweaked, not repealed, and Elichai is anxious about staying insured.

"I am concerned about it and I'm hoping someone like me who couldn't afford insurance in the past can still afford it and can still be covered."

The fate of the new Republican legislation is up in the air. Some conservatives are already calling it dead on arrival for being too much like Obamacare, and some moderate Republicans are joining Democrats in saying they have to fight it because it leaves too many people without coverage.
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