SANTA MONICA (CBSLA.com) — In Santa Monica on Wednesday, Barbara Lipscomb says she is convinced that her pre-existing medical condition, asthma, might cause her to lose her health insurance.
"I'm very much worried. Will we be able to get coverage that is anywhere close to affordable?" Lipscomb asked.
Lipscomb says she is especially concerned, given the events in Washington on Wednesday, with members of the incoming Trump administration promising immediate repeal of the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare.
Meanwhile, President Barack Obama called on Democrats to stay strong in opposition to Republican attempts to dismantle his signature legislation.
"We're united in our opposition to these Republican attempts to make America sick again." said Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.
So what does this all mean for people with pre-existing conditions like Lipscomb? Or for business owners who say they are being crushed by the high cost of providing health coverage for employees?
Jerry Flanagan keeps an eye on the health-care industry for Consumer Watchdog in Santa Monica.
"Whatever happens on day one of the Trump administration won't likely mean change for the consumer or the business owner until at least 2017."
"Enroll before Jan. 31, the end of the open enrollment period, because not only is the law allowing people with preexisting conditions still in effect, also still in effect is the fact if you don't buy the coverage, you have to pay a tax fine."
He also offers this warning:
"Be on alert for insurance companies attempting to blame the confusion and transition for changes they want to make themselves to your coverage."
Flanagan says the winds of change in Washington will take anywhere from six months to two years before they change the climate for health care in California. That also goes for business owners counting on financial relief, and consumers like Lipscomb counting on maintaining their life-saving medical coverage.
"Remember, Congress, no matter what it does, cannot rewrite your insurance policy," Flanagan said.
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