Donald Trump vowed to ‘repeal and replace’ Obamacare. Elections have consequences. So do campaign promises. Can he make it disappear in one stroke of the pen?
The short answer is no. Completely repealing Obamacare requires a majority of 60 votes. The incoming GOP Senate doesn’t have a filibuster-proof majority.
Can the GOP damage Obamacare? Yes, but…
- A Republican Congress does have the votes to undo the parts of the ACA that require public funding
- There is a two-year phasing-out period built in
- Some core parts of the legislation require a filibuster-proof majority.
Donald Trump has often talked about making it possible to sell healthcare policies across state lines. Trump has also suggested creating health savings accounts. Both proposals would require legislation by Congress and could possibly be one of the ways the GOP replaces the current ACA setup.
Under the worst-case scenario, completely doing away with the ACA in two years and, kicking 30 million Americans off of their health insurance, would take two years. 2018 will be when the next mid-term election takes place. It is doubtful that the GOP would pass catastrophic legislation that would hurt many of their own constituents right before an election.
It is likely that, when confronted with actually acting on their promise, Republicans will be faced with the impracticalities of completely doing away with the ACA. More than likely, they will do their best to scale it back.
Air Talk with Larry Mantle had a great segment on the repeal of Obamacare, in which the executive director of Covered California answered questions and debunked some of the fears that have been building up over the past year:
“We’re focused on the here and now. We’re in open enrollment, people are renewing their coverage and they should be looking at renewing. For 2017, that coverage is there, it’s intact, the financial assistance is there and intact, the rates aren’t changing for 2017,” he said. “Before we jump into the morass of what repeal and replace look like, Californians should know that in the here and now, sign up for coverage. Make sure you don’t go without insurance.”
It is now open season. Sign up for your plans for next year. Whatever Congress does, it won’t take effect for some time.
Air Talk – November 10, 2016
Covered CA executive director, health policy experts answer questions about future of state healthcare exchange, Affordable Care Act
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