What repealing Obamacare would mean for Massachusetts

As of November, more than 233,000 people are enrolled under MassHealth, the state-sponsored health care plan.

President-elect Donald Trump takes questions during a news conference, Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017, in New York. The news conference was his first as President-elect. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – Days before president-elect Donald Trump takes office, he’s continued to promise that he will repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, saying Obamacare is a broken system. It’s uncertain what Congress would put in place as a substitute, but whatever the change is will affect thousands of Massachusetts residents.

Muir Lamontagne of Monson looks forward to the change but is skeptical of its replacement, saying, “If it’s a true universal health care system and it’s replaced, I have no problems with that because there are certainly glaring problems with Obamacare.”

Under the Affordable Care Act, 21% of Massachusetts residents have enrolled in MassHealth, the state-sponsored health coverage plan. Governor Baker’s administration says the trend is growing because of expanded eligibility, and more people are racing now for these benefits before they’re taken away.

Trump said at a news conference Wednesday he plans to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act as soon as he appoints a Health and Human Services Secretary. Attorney James Winston of Northampton explained what the changes would mean for Massachusetts residents, beginning with the effect on MassHealth. Winston predicts, “Possibly an expansion of MassHealth. For people that were depending on help through the Affordable Care Act, if that’s no longer available, hopefully there are resources for MassHealth.”

Attorney Winston said the federal government may have to give Massachusetts a “block grant” to expand MassHealth, and support those coming off Obamacare. It would also help expand Medicaid coverage in the state.

Winston said any MassHealth expansion could be expensive. As of November, more than 233,000 people are enrolled under MassHealth.