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

When Congress was debating the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the debate largely revolved around how many people would gain insurance and how the law would impact the deficit, not about how the law would address existing government policies and programs that largely created the perverse incentives. The ACA created several new perverse incentives, unfortunately.

Regardless of whether there is a President Cruz or a President Rubio in January 2017, regardless of the existence or size of a Republican majority in Congress, the so-called Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) has failed. The grand vision of an efficient pseudo-market in health insurance under enlightened federal management — the heart of Obamacare — is not coming to pass. Obamacare, meaning the operating model that undergirded the law that Congress passed and President Barack Obama signed with great fanfare — is dead, and it will not be revived. What remains is fitful chaos.

Yesterday’s post discussed what we know about Obamacare as its third open enrollment season commences. Here are four major questions about the future of Obamacare that remain unanswered.

Douglas Holtz-Eakin is the president of the American Action Forum and a former director of the Congressional Budget Office. He also served on President George W. Bush’s Council of Economic Advisers. With the Affordable Care Act’s insurance marketplaces beginning their third open enrollment this week, RealClearHealth talked to Holtz-Eakin about what’s working, what’s not working, what can be done today to address problems with the law, and what should be on the agenda of a new administration in 2017.

The financial failure of more than half the nonprofit health insurance companies created under the Affordable Care Act has handed Republicans a new weapon in their campaign against the health law, thrown the Obama administration on the defensive once again and left more than a half-million consumers in the cold.

Some observers might question the usefulness of ongoing policy discussion about health insurance coverage for pre-existing conditions. After all, as of January 2014, insurers are barred from excluding such conditions from their policies, even for short periods, by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). Moreover, insurers are no longer allowed to charge higher-than-average premiums to consumers with higher-than-average expected health costs. In short, many would say the ACA has solved the problem, so there’s nothing more that needs to be discussed.

Douglas Holtz-Eakin is the president of the American Action Forum and a former director of the Congressional Budget Office. He also served on President George W. Bush’s Council of Economic Advisers. With the Affordable Care Act’s insurance marketplaces beginning their third open enrollment this week, Real Clear Health talked to Holtz-Eakin about what’s working, what’s not working, what can be done today to address problems with the law, and what should be on the agenda of a new administration in 2017.

Yesterday’s post discussed what we know about Obamacare as its third open enrollment season commences. Here are four major questions about the future of Obamacare that remain unanswered.

For the press, the debate over ObamaCare is over. There may be a few proverbial Japanese soldiers wandering on isolated islands yammering on about the failure of ObamaCare, but word will eventually filter down to them, too. This assumption is so deeply embedded that it is impervious to new evidence that ObamaCare is an unwieldy contraption that is sputtering badly. Yes, ObamaCare has covered more people and has especially benefited those with pre-existing conditions (to be credible, Republican replacement plans have to do these things, as well), but the program is so poorly designed that, surely, even a new Democratic president will want to revisit it to try to make it more workable.

Obamacare’s third open enrollment season kicked off yesterday, beginning the next chapter in its turbulent history. Today’s post discusses what we know about Obamacare. Tomorrow’s will discuss what we don’t yet know.