What happens to Covered California if Affordable Care Act repealed?

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Saturday, January 14, 2017
What happens to Covered California if Obamacare repealed?
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Congress took the first steps to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, which could impact those using Covered California.

LOS ANGELES -- Congress approved the first step toward dismantling the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as "Obamacare," on Friday.

So what does this mean to the millions who enrolled or are about to enroll in Covered California?

RELATED: Q&A: 7 On Your Side answered your Covered California questions

Before Covered California, personal trainer Julia Morichelli said maintaining health coverage was a balancing act between paying her studio rent and soaring premiums.

"Knowing the way insurance was going, it was becoming incredibly unaffordable. And for somebody like me if they roll back the pre-existing condition, no one will insure me," said Morichelli.

Morichelli has an auto-immune disorder and said her current plan helped her get the care she needed.

Now with the wheels of repeal turning in Washington, she's concerned her coverage will disappear.

"Which would quite frankly, it would devastate me," she said.

Covered California's Executive Director Peter Lee said enrollees shouldn't worry. At least not for now.

"We are locked in for 2017. Now in 2018, the rates may be a little different, but California is really making it work so we're optimistic that we're going to be here for years to come," he explained.

To dismantle Obamacare, Republican lawmakers aim to introduce a comprehensive repeal bill by Jan. 27.

"Why would you throw out the baby with the bathwater? Why wouldn't you just improve upon what is working already and what is working for so many people?" Morichelli asked.

Lee predicted key components of the current law such as tax credits would stay intact. His message was to not worry about Washington, and if someone needs health insurance, to sign up now and don't gamble.

"You may end up in a hospital in March or April and you may walk out with a $200,000 debt. That's a penalty we don't want anyone to pay," he said.

The next Covered California deadline is on Jan. 20 for coverage that begins Feb. 1.

Lee advised consumers to go to www.CoveredCA.com.

If you find you need enrollment help, the website directs as to where to find face-to-face assistance.

Click here for more stories about Covered California.