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An advocate for Utah hospitals said he expects Donald Trump and Congressional Republicans to repeal as much of the Affordable Care Act as they can, as quickly as they can after the president-elect takes office.

But Trump's replacement for the law will take time, Dave Gessel of the Utah Hospital Association said Wednesday, and how he negotiates that trade will determine the rest of his presidency.

"It's inevitable that the House Republicans or the Senate Republicans will disagree with Trump on some major issue and watch the first time that happens because that will determine if he has success or not," said Gessel, the asociation's executive vice president.

He added that Trump must be willing to compromise to "move the country forward."

Gessel spoke Wednesday at the University of Utah's S.J. Quinney College of Law as part of "The Law and Biomedicine Colloquium" speaker series.

President-elect Trump has repeatedly said he wants to repeal and replace the Act also known as Obamacare, which created online insurance marketplaces that allow consumers to find the best plan to fit their needs by comparing prices and networks. They also can qualify under the law for federal tax credits that help reduce the overall cost of coverage.

Despite the Act's potential demise, Utah continues to see an increase in ACA enrollment compared to last year. As of Jan. 14, 188,905 Utahns had signed up for health insurance on the exchange, compared to 159,623 this time last year. The Beehive State ranks third for its overall growth rate this year compared to last, behind Hawaii and South Dakota, according to the Utah Health Policy Project.

Utahns still have until Jan. 31 to sign up for 2017 health insurance. Experts have said any changes at the federal level would not impact those who sign up for 2017 because they will have contracts with insurance companies.

Trump also has said he's in favor of keeping some of the Act — such as the prohibition against insurance companies denying coverage for pre-exsting conditions — eliminating the requirement that all individuals have health insurance. But experts have said doing both could prove difficult.

Fifty-five percent of Utahns surveyed in a recent Salt Lake Tribune-Hinckley Institute of Politics poll agree that some of the law should remain intact.

The poll showed that more men than women — 33 percent compared to 25 percent, respectively — were in favor of a total repeal of Obama's signature law. More than 50 percent of both genders wanted to keep portions of the law.

And only 39 percent of Utah Republicans were in favor of a full repeal, the poll shows, compared to 3 percent of Democrats.

The overall poll, conducted by Dan Jones & Associates, has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.98 percentage points.

Gessel said plans for replacing the law remain unclear, but that Americans can expect "major changes."

"No one can predict what's going to happen," Gessel said.

For free assistance with their health insurance, Utahns can contact an agent at, or talk to a Take Care Utah expert at or by calling 211.

Twitter @alexdstuckey