Tennesseans concerned about cost amid new executive order on healthcare

(MGN/Ilmicrofono Oggiono / CC BY 2.0)

President Trump signed an executive order on Thursday aimed at undoing Obamacare, and its impacts are being felt across middle Tennessee.

While people in middle Tennessee have opposite reactions to the executive order, their common focus is on cost.

The president said his order will give people access to lower-cost health insurance plans while allowing small businesses to buy low cost coverage out of state.

Those words bring relief to office manager Terrie Ballman, who buys health care for Joslin & Son Signs on Murfreesboro Pike in Nashville. Ballman said they’ve struggled under Obamacare.

“We're really embarrassed to tell our employees every January what the new rate is,” Ballman said. “It's like we know you can't afford it. We can't afford it. No one can afford it. Then they don't even get to use it because the deductibles are so high.”

For Ballman, President Trump’s order brings memories of a better time she hopes they can return to at their business.

“We talked to employees here and said what do you want, what do you need, what can we take out, how can we reduce the premiums," Ballman said. "We were very happy with it."

At the same time, Cookeville mom Wren Vanhooser feared what the president’s order will mean for her 10-year-old son Clay, who has severe autism.

“He needs a tremendous amount of behavior therapy and a lot of medications and a very controlled environment in order to be safe,” Vanhooser said.

Wren said without the Affordable Care Act, she won’t be able to get Clay the behavior therapy he needs.

“I think people forget these are vulnerable children and people who are sick and have mental illness and are desperate for these services,” Vanhooser said. "Their families are desperate for these services so that we can keep functioning as well."

With two very different viewpoints, the women share a focus on what Congress does next.

“Getting back some freedom to pick and choose what's best for our company, not what the government says we have to have,” Terrie Ballman said.

“It's frightening to me," Wren Vanhooser said. "Not just for my son but for people who have a lot of expensive needs through no fault of their own."

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