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What's next for American health-care consumers?

March 27, 2017

Image of a man receiving health-care treatment
Many consumers are wondering what’s next, when it comes to purchasing and accessing health-care.

Last week’s failed attempt to repeal and replace Obamacare leaves many American consumers wondering what’s next, when it comes to purchasing and accessing health-care. Much will depend on Congress, as it seems unlikely the President will make this a priority.

“Based upon the proposals so far, consumers shouldn’t worry if there is no repeal/replace,” according to Virginia Tech consumer expert Irene Leech. “What exists will continue to exist. Some providers may leave, others may join. There are no absolute guarantees that keeping Obamacare means terrible things.”

Quoting: 
“Health-care costs will keep rising. For insurance to work well for both issuers and consumers, a large, broad pool of participants is needed. Until we get most people across all health conditions and ages and stages in the life cycle in the pool, there will be difficulty spreading the risk sufficiently enough to keep costs down.”

“It’s important for us to have but it’s big enough that it will not change in a day, a week, or a month. If Congress and the President ever agree on changes it will still take time before things change. Keep telling elected officials about the things that matter to you, what works and what doesn’t.”

“The insurance you have is still in place until January 1, 2018. Try not to panic and just wait a few months and see what happens.”

Background: 
Irene Leech is an associate professor of consumer studies in the Department of Apparel, Housing, and Resource Management in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences. A faculty member at Virginia Tech since 1989, Leech has been active in the national consumer movement, leading the American Council on Consumer Interests and American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences.
She was honored by the Consumer Federation of America for a distinguished lifetime of service to consumers.

To secure a print or broadcast interview with Irene Leech, contact Bill Foy by email at fwill55@vt.edu; or by phone at 540-998-0288 or 540-231-8719.

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