The impact of ObamaCare on doctors and patients, companies inside and outside the health sector, and American workers and taxpayers

Fox Business host Maria Bartiromo got into a heated exchange with controversial Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber on Tuesday as the two disagreed over skyrocketing health insurance premiums.

Gruber claimed Obamacare has actually “saved people money,” despite recent damaging headlines indicating President Barack Obama’s signature health care law will cause a 25 percent increase in key premiums. He also claimed the industry is just not “prepared” yet for the “new and innovative insurance market.”

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When the new Congress and President-elect Trump take office in January, Republicans will have a real chance to repeal President Obama’s Affordable Care Act. If they succeed, it will be the result of their carefully executed strategy to repeal the law and repeated congressional votes to do so. This approach was the subject of much derision from Democrats, but sticking to it has now put the Republicans in a position where they can reach their goal.

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President-elect Trump and the GOP-controlled Congress can repeal Obamacare pretty easily, but the biggest question is when and if there will be a transition while a replacement gets crafted.

Trump has promised to repeal Obamacare in its entirety and congressional Republicans are on board. However, when the repeal would take effect is largely in doubt, as some Republicans are wary of immediately ending coverage for millions of people without a replacement.

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Colorado voters rejected a ballot measure that would have created a first-in-the-nation single-payer health insurance system, a significant setback for progressive proponents of universal health care.

Tuesday’s defeat of Amendment 69 was decisive, as predicted. Polling ahead of Election Day showed that two-thirds of residents opposed the measure, which would have established a program called ColoradoCare to cover most people in the state.

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Democrats are already panicked that Donald Trump will repeal ObamaCare and throw millions of people off the subsidy rolls, while some conservatives seem panicked that the President-elect will renege on his campaign promises and millions of people won’t be thrown off the entitlement. Like most inflamed political questions after Mr. Trump’s victory, the health-care debate would benefit from some perspective.

“Either ObamaCare will be amended, or repealed and replaced,” Mr. Trump told the Journal last week, and on “60 Minutes” on Sunday he added that “we’re not going to have a two-year period where there’s nothing. It will be repealed and replaced.” Mr. Trump is being more subtle than his critics.

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Not all of Obamacare would be “shut right down” once the unified Republican government takes power next year, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said Monday.

“You wouldn’t have everything shut right down. … You wouldn’t take everything away,” the California Republican told reporters on Capitol Hill. 

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Republicans could pass a budget reconciliation bill that gradually sunsets the law, preserving its subsidies and Medicaid expansion for a time while they agree on a replacement. They’ve already got a script for that approach, after passing a reconciliation bill last January which President Obama vetoed.

Or Congress could pass a replacement plan right away by coupling it with a repeal bill, although it’s questionable Republicans could find consensus in such a short timeframe.

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Over the past few years, pundits have dismissed the Republican Party’s chances of repealing and replacing Obamacare. But with President-elect Donald Trump’s victory Tuesday and the GOP’s successful effort to keep control of Congress, conservatives now have a real chance to eliminate the health care law. The question is how to do it.

Three years into its implementation, the Affordable Care Act has clearly failed. The law has wrecked the individual market for health insurance—premiums have soared, coverage has been canceled en masse, and choices have been drastically curtailed. The cost of the law’s major coverage provisions—Medicaid expansion and subsidies for plans purchased through the exchanges—have soared. In fact, the per enrollee cost of the Medicaid expansion is nearly 50 percent above estimates.

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In a move virtually ignored outside Washington and largely unnoticed even within it, last December the House and Senate passed legislation repealing much of Obamacare. President Obama promptly vetoed the measure — an obstacle that will disappear come January 20. As reporters and policymakers attempt to catch up and learn the details of a process they had not closely followed, three important lessons stand out from last year’s “dry run” at repealing Obamacare.

Republicans’ path on Obamacare could prove more complicated than the new conventional wisdom in Washington suggests. If past is prologue, last year’s reconciliation bill provides one possible roadmap for how the congressional debate may play out.
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A nationwide exit poll shows almost half of voters believe Obamacare went too far.

About 45 percent told NBC News that the law went too far, while 31 percent believe it didn’t go far enough and 18 percent said it was just right, according to a nationwide exit poll released Tuesday.

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