President-elect Trump backed down a bit from his vow to repeal Obamacare, suggesting in an interview Friday that he might retain the prohibition of discrimination based on preexisting conditions and the ability to keep children on parents' insurance until they are 26.
In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Trump reportedly said he would move quickly to deal with the Affordable Care Act (ACA), because patients "can’t use it" due to its high costs.
A total repeal of the ACA would be as difficult as it is unlikely. Legislation that passed both houses of Congress last year before it was vetoed by President Obama would have left more than 20 million people without insurance. It would have eliminated the subsidies to help them pay for it, the penalties if they don't buy it and the taxes to cover the costs.
Health care economist John Goodman, who advises Republican members of Congress, says that’s something neither party is likely to vote for without the assurance of a presidential veto. Neither party can afford the political backlash that would follow any move to take away 20 million people's health insurance
Trump's apparent support for two of the most popular parts of the health law came as a spokesman for House Speaker Paul Ryan tweeted that Ryan's "A Better Way" Obamacare replacement also would protect those with preexisting conditions and allow parents to keep children on parents' plans until they are 26.
That would be a major relief to Jackie Elledge of Oklahoma, who discovered she had stage 4 cancer earlier this year and then lost her job when her employer went out of business in February. Her chemotherapy treatments are all that is keeping her alive, but they make her so sick she can't work.
She is paying for a subsidized Obamacare plan with her disability payments and won't be eligible for Medicare for at least two years. That may be as long as she has live, however.
"I should not have to worry about being able to get health insurance while I am fighting for my life," says Elledge.