Obamacare users await repeal, potential replacement with dread, hope

MIAMI -- Small business owner Julie Mansfield has a clear vision of what a lack of health insurance would mean to her.

“That would mean going blind. That would literally going blind,” Mansfield said

The 49-year-old restaurateur has a very rare autoimmune disease that attacks her retinas. She says the specialists and drugs that maintain her sight cost more than she could afford.

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Julie Mansfield

CBS News

But under the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, she only pays a $10 co-pay over her $400 monthly premium.

“When the ACA came around, it was a blessing,” she said.

But others are not so happy with the affordable care act. Some small business owners say insuring their employees is financially crippling. 

And when 59-year-old Kevin McCarthy of Thousand Oaks, California, who owns a specialty flooring company, signed up in 2014, his premiums increased.

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Kevin McCarthy

CBS News

“When we signed up with the new healthcare act, not only did it cost us 50 percent more in monthly premiums, but as it turned out we were also getting 50 percent less,” McCarthy said.

This year, premiums increased an average of 25 percent, but Americans continue to sign up. At least 22 million formerly uninsured are now covered, up nearly 300,000 for 2017 compared to last year. Eighty-three percent of enrollees receive tax credits.

Mansfield worries about talk of repealing the ACA without a plan to replace it.

“My health is not about politics. My health is about my life and my livelihood. And it’s not to be played with, it’s not to be a political pawn” she said.

The question many are pondering is whether the replacement would keep some of the more popular aspects of the ACA, such as covering pre-existing conditions, and keeping adult children under their parents’ policy. 

The 2017 deadline for signing up is this Sunday, but it’s unclear if Obamacare will survive the year.