Ryan Fuchs, Financial Planner
For starters, no matter who wins the Presidency in 2016, s/he would not be able to unilateraly repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA - often referred to as Obamacare). So far, the House has tried over 50 times to repeal it and it has never gone anywhere in the Senate, and President Obama would have vetoed the repeal bill even if it had ever made it to his desk.
It would effectively take the GOP (1) winning the Presidency (which may or may not happen), (2) keeping a pretty large margin in the House (which I think is probably likely), and (3) having a fillibuster proof majority in the Sentate (which I think is probably unlikely).
If they don't have a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate, any bill for repeal from the House would most likely be filibustered, though there are probably some manuevers that the GOP would use to get it around a filibuster (for example, they might try to attach the repeal bill/language to another bill that was not allowed to be filibustered.
All of that being said, the ACA is a law that dictates requirements that all health care plans must meet (for example, you can't be denied for pre-existing conditions, your kids can stay on your health insurance until age 26, etc.). Other than that, you are still buying a "private" health insurance plan from a private company (e.g. Aetna, United, etc.). The only time that you MUST use the marketplaces set up by the federal government or the states, is if you are eligible for subsidies that will help reduce your out-of-pocket premium cost. If you make too much to get subsidies, then you can use the marketplace(s) or any other avenue to obtain coverage that you want to.
So, in reality, if the ACA was completely repealed, it would more or less go back to the way it was before - i.e. you could be denied for pre-existing conditions; your children would have to get their own insurance at an earlier age, etc. Basically, the requirements for plans that the ACA implemented would disappear, though the individual mandate would disappear as well, so you could go without insurance without penalty (unless you consider the possibility of incurring financially crippling medical bills if you have an accident or major illness with no insurance coverage a "penalty").
But ultimately, if the ACA was repealed, you could still seek to buy a plan from any provider that you wanted to, just like you can more or less do now. Your premiums might go up or down depending on what type of plan you purchased compared to the plan you have now. If you have pre-existing conditions, you could potentially be denied coverage. In other words, you might see major changes, or you might see no reall changes at all - it would likely depend on your particular situation.
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