With Obamacare, She Started A New Chapter. With Trump, She Fears It Could Close

In the wake of the election, President Obama’s signature health care law is back in the spotlight.

By Lauren SilvermanNovember 17, 2016 9:31 am, , ,

From KERA News

Leigh Kvetko feels a double-duty to stay healthy — for herself, and for the teenage girl whose death gave her new life — in the form of a donated pancreas and kidney.

“I am so grateful,” Kvetko says. “And I try to show that by taking care of myself. I can’t not take care of myself, I’m only here because of her and her family’s sacrifice.”

To stay healthy, Kvetko has to take 10 medications twice a day. One of those pills alone costs $1,900 a month. For years, Kvetko stuck with a corporate job in Austin she hated in large part because it offered health insurance. When the Affordable Care Act passed, insurers could no longer discriminate against people like Kvetko, who have pre-existing conditions, and she and her husband finally felt free.

“It gave me hope and [my husband and I] decided to sell our house, to downsize, and to start our own businesses and start a new chapter of our lives.”

In this new chapter, Kvetko is retail manager at a busy Dallas coffee shop. She struts through the store in cowboy boots, her long red hair framing green speckled eyes. She looks happy, and healthy. But her pancreas is failing, and she’s terrified that a President Trump would dismantle the Affordable Care Act, putting health care out of reach for her, and another 1.2 million Texans who rely on subsidized plans.

Southern Methodist University law professor Nathan Cortez says it’s far too early to make any firm predictions about what is going to happen.

“We’ve heard promises, or threats, depending on your perspective, to get rid of the entire thing,” Cortez says. “There’s a pretty wide range of possible outcomes right now, anything from burn it all down, full repeal, which would be difficult procedurally but nevertheless would be possible, to very subtle changes, in which Republican House and Senate members and President Trump could claim that they’ve repealed it but really just got rid of a few unpopular provisions.”

One of the less popular provisions Trump will likely target is the individual mandate– the requirement that most people be insured or pay a penalty. Republican Congressman Michael Burgess, who’s also a doctor, hopes Trump strikes down the mandate.

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