Many in Washington bracing for impact of Obamacare repeal

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BURIEN, Wash. — Under Obamacare, 600,000 people in Washington are receiving free health care and others are paying less premiums every month.

With Republicans on the move to repeal the Affordable Care Act, officials in the state are studying the fine print to see what the exact impact will be in Washington.

On Tuesday, Q13 News talked to a Burien man who says Obamacare saved him in more ways than one.

Mike Hart said he could have lost a lot if it wasn’t for the Affordable Care Act.

“I could have lost my life savings I could have lost my home,” Hart said.

When he retired from an IT company, he was forced to pay $1,200 a month for an individual health care plan. Living on a fixed income, he couldn’t do it. Then he qualified under Obamacare -- it wasn’t free in Hart’s case, but it lowered his premium by $500.

“I know if it goes back to the hands of insurance companies setting rates for individuals, it’s going to be horrible for them,” Hart said.

The Office of the Insurance Commissioner says Obamacare gave more than 3 million Washingtonians free coverage for preventive services.

In 2013, the uninsured rate dropped from 14% to nearly 6%.

“We gave individuals, suddenly, buying power in the individual market,” Hart said.

It also gave young people the option to stay on their parents' insurance and prevented insurance companies from dropping coverage over pre-existing conditions.

“You can’t pull the plug on all that stuff; you won’t be voted back into office if you do,” Hart said.

But others can’t wait until Republicans repeal the Affordable Care Act.

“They are killing small businesses and killing the middle class, with this killing us,” Linda Wilson said.

In 2013, Wilson told Q13 News, she expected her rates to go up but never expected her health insurance to drop her altogether. Thousands of other Washingtonians were told they couldn’t keep their policies either.

“I am angry, Wilson said.

That anger, in part, propelled Republicans in Congress to move to repeal Obamacare.

Hart just turned 65 and qualifies for Medicare so he will be covered, but he’s worried about the others who don’t have that option.

“I know the potential for that is really bad,” Hart said.