Some Amer­i­cans elated, oth­ers down­cast at bill col­lapse,

Deep di­vi­sions over Oba­macare, re­peal likely to sim­mer.

Austin American-Statesman - - FRONT PAGE - By Matt Se­den­sky

Some Amer­i­cans breathed a sigh of re­lief, oth­ers bub­bled with frus­tra­tion, and nearly all re­signed them­selves to the prospect that the lat­est chap­ter in the never-end­ing na­tional de­bate over health care would not be the last.

The with­drawal of the Repub­li­can-spon­sored health bill in the face of likely de­feat Fri­day in the U.S. House seemed to en­sure that the deep di­vi­sions over the Af­ford­able Care Act and its pos­si­ble re­place­ment will con­tinue to sim­mer.

As news spread, Amer­i­cans fell into fa­mil­iar camps, ei­ther happy to see a Demo­cratic ef­fort live an­other day, or ea­ger to see Repub­li­cans re­group and fol­low through with their “re­peal Oba­macare” prom­ises.

“Yessssss,” an elated 27-year-old artist, Alysa Diebolt of East­pointe, Michi­gan, typed on Face­book in re­sponse to the news, say­ing she was re­lieved those she knows on Af­ford­able Care Act plans won’t lose their cov­er­age. “I’m ex­cited, I think it’s a good thing,” she said.

Mil­lions more shared her view, and #Kil­lTheBill was a top trend­ing topic on Twit­ter on Fri­day af­ter­noon. Among those who have long sought to see Obama’s health law dis­man­tled, though, there was dis­ap­point­ment or chin-up re­solve that they still could pre­vail.

“Hope­fully they’ll get it right next time,” said An­thony Cana­mu­cio, the 50-year-old owner of a bar­ber­shop in Middletown Town­ship, Penn­syl­va­nia. He gave his vote to Trump in Novem­ber and wanted to see Obama’s health law re­pealed, but found him­self root­ing for the GOP re­place­ment bill to fail. He is in­sured through his wife’s em­ployer, and laments the grow­ing de­ductibles and out-of-pocket costs, blam­ing Obama’s law even as health econ­o­mists say those trends in em­ployer-pro­vided health cov­er­age pre­ceded the leg­is­la­tion.

For Cana­mu­cio, the Repub­li­cans’ bill didn’t go far enough in dis­man­tling the ACA. But he re­mains stead­fast be­hind Trump and said he be­lieves the pres­i­dent will still de­liver.

Cliff Rouse, a 34-year-old banker from Kin­ston, North Carolina, like­wise was will­ing to give the pres­i­dent he helped elect a chance to make good on his prom­ise. He sees Obama’s law as gov­ern­ment over­reach, even as he knows it could help peo­ple like his 64-year-old fa­ther, who was re­cently di­ag­nosed with dementia but re­fused to buy cov­er­age un­der a law he dis­agreed with. Rouse sees Trump’s moves on health care as hasty, but be­lieves the GOP will even­tu­ally come around with bet­ter leg­is­la­tion.

It re­mained far more than a petty po­lit­i­cal de­bate, though, and some like Janella Wil­liams, framed the is­sue as a ques­tion of life and death.

The 45-year-old graphic de­signer from Lawrence, Kansas, spent Fri­day in the hos­pi­tal hooked up to an in­tra­venous drip for a neu­ro­log­i­cal dis­or­der, get­ting the drugs that she says al­low her to walk. Un­der her Af­ford­able Care Act plan, she pays $480 a month for cov­er­age and has an out-of-pocket max­i­mum of $3,500 a year. If she were to lose it, she wouldn’t be able to af­ford the $13,000-a-year outof-pocket max­i­mum un­der her hus­band’s in­sur­ance. Her treat­ments cost about $90,000 ev­ery seven weeks.

As she fol­lowed the ef­forts to undo Obama’s law, Wil­liams found her­self yelling at the TV a lot. She wrote her sen­a­tors, telling how she felt “help­less and out of con­trol,” and how her hope was dwin­dling.

Af­ter watch­ing cov­er­age on Fri­day while teth­ered to a port in an out­pa­tient area, she said when the bill was with­drawn, “I am thank­ful. I hope that this makes Trump the ear­li­est lame duck ever.”

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