Deadline looms for coverage on federal marketplace as Republicans promise a quick repeal

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INDIANAPOLIS – A last-minute sales pitch Tuesday brought together Rep. Andre Carson (D-Ind.) and federal health officials to tout the Affordable Care Act and encourage Hoosiers to sign up before the Dec. 15 deadline to guarantee coverage on Jan. 1.

“The Affordable Care Act has made a difference in so many of our lives,” Kathleen Falk said at an event at the HealthNet Administrative Offices, the U.S. Health and Human Services regional director.

The Thursday deadline looms large as questions swirl about the law’s future.

“The question becomes,” Carson said. “Will lawmakers be able to get away with political posturing and hurt millions of the American people?”

What was once touted as landmark healthcare legislation by President Obama is promising to be quickly dismantled by President-elect Donald Trump and Congressional Republicans.

“The insurance companies have committed to honoring these contracts through the end of 2017,” Falk said, working to reassure participants and encouraged the still uninsured to sign up.

In a coordinated effort to tout the law, the Obama administration said Tuesday the number of uninsured Hoosiers has dropped 35 percent since the law was enacted.

“Reinforcing the fact this is important,” Carson said. “Kids on their parents plan until they’re 26, eliminating pre-existing conditions.”

Hoosiers, though, are also dealing with price increases with some premiums jumping double digits in 2017, according to state officials. A growing number of insurers in Indiana and nationwide are also pulling out of the federal marketplace.

“We want to infuse competition into the marketplace,” Rep. Susan Brooks (R-Ind.) said. “Right now fewer and fewer health insurance companies are participating.”

Brooks said Republicans are demanding a new approach, one that could take several years to implement.

“We want to transition it appropriately so people do not lose their health insurance,” Brooks said. “I know there’s definitely concerns about that.”

Hoosiers with questions about the Affordable Care Act can call 211 or click here.