BATON ROUGE – The debate over the future of health care is not over across the country and in Louisiana following the abrupt pull of the GOP health care bill.
Some in Louisiana now have health care because of the Obamacare, however on the other hand, many small businesses and individuals say they are struggling under a broken system.
John Overton runs a small IT company called Turn Key Solutions. He employs about one dozen employees and is always looking to expand, however he says that Obamacare has put a huge burden on his business.
"We've had to be innovative and figure out how do we meet the increasing demand that comes with growth? We can't hire the way we have in the past ," Overton said.
Many small business owners and individuals who make moderate incomes who do not qualify for federal health insurance subsidies are counting the failed bill as a defeat. The National Federation of Independent Businesses says that two-thirds of small businesses in the nation reported higher health care premiums since Obamacare first took affect, many increasing by double digits.
"The bottom line is health care costs are rising constantly, insurance premiums are rising constantly, and what we have to do is figure out how to stabilize the system and help small business owner afford insurance for their employees," Dawn Starns of NFIB said.
Supporters of Obamacare in Louisiana say the failure of President Trump's bill has saved health care coverage for 400,000, mostly from low-income individuals.
"About 600,000 people have coverage today who didn't have it seven years ago when this law passed. that's the reason Louisianans uninsured rate has dropped to historic lows, it's the lowest it's ever been in our history," Jan Moller, of the Louisiana Budget Project, said.
Leading up to the debate in Congress, community organizers like Together Baton Rouge collected testimonials from Obamacare supporters in the Capital Region.
One woman wrote that her brother depends on Obamacare for his diabetes medication and another woman wrote that she could not afford insurance without federal subsidies she was getting since her husband's work injury.
Local experts say they do not expect another "repeal and replacement bill" anytime soon.
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