What Impacts Could Proposed Republican Healthcare Plan Have in Virginia?

Mar 13, 2017

House Speaker Paul Ryan's proposed replacement of the Affordable Care Act could potentially mean the end of coverage for nearly half a million Virginians.
Credit J. Scott Applewhite / AP, File

As the debate about health care takes center stage, what kind of impact could the Republican plan have in Virginia? Michael Pope is digging into the numbers.

The Affordable Care Act dramatically expanded the number of people who have health insurance in Virginia. So now it’s being dismantled, how many people could lose coverage? A recent analysis by the Commonwealth Institute for Fiscal Analysis says almost half a million people who gained access to insurance through the ACA now stand to lose it. Michael Cassidy is president of the Institute.

“The average tax credit in Virginia would fall sharply under the House Republican plan. Those steep cuts would greatly reduce the affordability of coverage and almost certainly increase the number of uninsured in Virginia.”

But that’s not all. Thousands of people who live in poverty or with disabilities also stand to lose coverage because of how Medicaid might be restructured. Frank Shafroth is a professor at George Mason University.

“What is it that going to mean with regard for the number of people who come to the emergency room who have no ability to pay and no insurance to cover it. So what’s it going to mean the cost for Virginia’s hospitals?”

It could mean Virginia taxpayers are left to pick up the tab for people without health insurance, turning to the emergency room for routine health care.