Sunday, January 8, 2017

OBAMACARE | Probable Impact of Repeal

Senate and House Minority Leaders, Chuck Schumer
and Nancy Pelosi, challenge Obamacare repeal.
The following was just posted by David Posnett, MD. I repost with his permission:
[O]ne cannot repeal Obamacare and [at the same time] preserve coverage for kids until they are 26 years old under their parent’s policy, as well as the rule that forbids insurances from denying coverage for pre-existing conditions, etc. 
The math just doesn’t work. 
So far the insurance companies [have] benefited from (a) government subsidies for Obamacare policies, and (b) government pressure on individuals and businesses to increase the pool of insurance premiums.   
Imagine up to 20-30 million insurance policies disappearing with full repeal: Either insurance companies will go broke, or premiums will skyrocket, or deductibles will be huge, or the lifetime caps on benefits will return.
Dr. Posnett is a Democrat. To balance his views on the impact of a putative repeal of Obamacare, I consulted the Pulitzer-Prizewinning truth-checking site PolitiFact, which says, commenting on the probable impact of the repeal of Obamacare:
Today, roughly 28 million Americans are uninsured, down from 41.3 million in 2013, due in large part to the Affordable Care Act, with its expansion of Medicaid, the creation of online health insurance marketplaces, the ability of young people to stay on their parents’ coverage through age 26, and the mandates that everyone purchase a health insurance plan. 
In 2015, the Congressional Budget Office -- the nonpartisan number-crunching arm of Congress -- said that the number of additional Americans who would lose coverage or be unable to get it for the first time would start at 19 million in the first year and increase incrementally before leveling off to 24 million within a couple of years. (The incremental increases would stem from lags in when insurance options lapse as well as increases in the population from young people becoming old enough to secure insurance of their own.)
These statements are in sync. Repeal is going to be politically difficult. I am told by a knowledgable insider is that the states where government programs and private insurers are most ready to step in if Obamacare is scaled back are the blue states. So the biggest hit that repealing Obamacare will make is on the coverage of people in the red states that elected Donald Trump.