North Texas Obamacare Supporters & Opponents Discuss Law’s Impact
Obamacare appears to be hanging by a political thread.
The Republican majority in Congress is poised to repeal it, while Democrats on Capitol Hill are trying to rescue it.
President Barack Obama will soon no longer be in power to veto a repeal of what he considers one of his signature achievements.
President-elect Donald Trump has railed against the law and has promised an improvement.
While lawmakers debate Obamacare’s fate, the Obama administration announced more than 1.1 million Texans have signed up for coverage between November 1 and December 31, 2015.
That includes nearly 317,000 people from the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
Brian Livingston has opposed the law. “I would like to see Obamacare as it is, repealed,” said Livingston.
He and his wife own seven restaurants: two franchises of Texadelphia and five Celebrity Café & Bakery eateries.
They plan to open a sixth Celebrity restaurant this year.
Livingston said among the reasons he wants Congress to end the Affordable Care Act, his health insurance costs have risen by about 15 percent.
He said only a few of their 70 full-time employees even want the insurance. “About ten percent, maybe a little less are actually on my insurance.”
But he said the biggest burden isn’t cost. It’s actually record-keeping — documenting the employees who don’t want it.
“That’s where my stress comes from, just complying with the law and staying up to date on that,” said Livingston.
Lemlem Berhe of DeSoto strongly supports Obamacare and said she’s called an automated phone line at U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan’s office at the Capitol to register her opinion.
“I’m very worried. Not just for me, but everyone else,” said Berhe.
For three years now, Berhe has received subsidized health insurance as part of the law that was passed by only Democrats and signed by President Obama.
“I haven’t had to worry if I get sick, what will happen to me,” said Berhe.
She just re-enrolled for 2017.
Berhe said it’s helped her and that without it, she and millions of others will face hard times.
“If the plan goes away, and they decide it to go away, me and the other 20 million people will be back to square one, where we have no safety net.”
Republicans have been debating whether to repeal the law now and then replace it later or to repeal and replace it at the same time.
Berhe said she wants to see Congress offer a specific plan to replace Obamacare before they kill it.
Speaker Ryan has said Republicans are considering a number of plans.
Livingston said he wants a plan that’s more affordable and easy to follow.
“So the small business owner is not required to enforce the law, not required to be the police for it,” said Livingston.
He said he doesn’t know what will happen next, but he says his insurance policy renewal comes this April.
This story originally appeared 1/5/2017 on CBS 11.