ISSAQUAH, Wash. – Approximately 750,000 Washington state citizens could find themselves without health insurance if Obamacare is repealed, Gov. Jay Inslee said Thursday.
Inslee spoke at Swedish Issaquah Campus, urging Congress to come up with another plan for Washingtonians if Obamacare is repealed.
“Congress is saying, well, we’ll take it away from you today, you just need to trust us that we’ll figure it out some time in the future,” Inslee said. “Looking at how these guys handle the ethics committee on the first day of Congress, I don’t think they’re eligible for that kind of trust.”
Flanked by supporters, and Washingtonians who say Obamacare saved their lives, the governor called on lawmakers to not be hasty with a repeal.
“You do not cut people from dialysis and not replace that machine on the same day,” he said.
During the press conference, several people shared their support for Obamacare, known as the Affordable Care Act, including Ellensburg’s Kandy Kimble.
“I was uninsured for over 20 years because it was unaffordable,” she said.
At 64, Kimble said she first opted out of the ACA and paid a penalty. But in 2014 she said she was diagnosed with multiple bleeding ulcers.
“It was so scary,” she said. “It was because I had no insurance coverage, I hadn’t gone to see any doctor for it.”
Now she worries she may have to leave the country again for her medical needs if Congress repeals Obamacare.
“I had no insurance and I couldn’t afford it here in the United States,” she said. “I was forced to go to Guatemala to get my knee replaced.”
Many people complain Obamacare isn’t helping, saying the law caused their insurance premiums to skyrocket and taxes to increase.
However, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Obamacare has improved coverage for millions of Washingtonians and provides coverage for hundreds of thousands more.
The agency said the Affordable Care Act puts an end to lifetime coverage limits, protects nearly 3 million from being denied coverage due to pre-existing conditions and makes sure women aren’t charged more than men for coverage.
Kimble said without Obamacare she could be priced out of health care.
“If it weren’t for the ACA it would probably be $2,000 a month, if I could get it with my pre-existing conditions,” she said.
Inslee said now is the time for voters to reach out to their elected representatives to make sure the federal government knows how they feel.
“Both Republicans and Democrats are covered by Obamacare. Both Republicans and Democrats can get cancer and need treatment and both Republicans and Democrats are deserving the basic human decency that you don’t pull the rug out from anybody of the state of Washington without replacing it,” he said.
Inslee added the state has no backup plan if Congress doesn't come up with a replacement, and that it could cost the state $330 million over the next two years to build replacement programs.