Staff for House Republicans will be briefed Thursday afternoon on how to repeal Obamacare using special budget reconciliation rules that could allow them ditch big parts of the healthcare law next year.
House Budget Committee staffers will explain at a 1:30 p.m. meeting how the budget reconciliation process works, lay out how it can be used on the Affordable Care Act and answer questions, according to an invitation sent to Republicans on Monday.
. . .
Though Republicans are itching to start on their promises to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act, many of them worry about repercussions if the process stalls or takes too long.
The GOP will most likely have to take a piecemeal approach to rolling back the health care legislation, a process Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said will be the first priority of the 115th Congress.
A new health care law might not take effect for up to three years, The Associated Press reported, in order to give Congress and President-elect Donald Trump enough time to come up with a feasible replacement.
. . .
As a physician, I know well the problems with Obamacare. I don’t think anyone has more disdain for this big government takeover of our healthcare system. It needs to be stopped, and we must replace it with reforms that move us in the opposite direction.
I will vote to repeal Obamacare in January. I believe it is something that the Republican Congress must do.
However, in our fervor to repeal Obamacare, conservatives should not forget or abandon the principles that make us conservative in the first place. Quirky, arcane rules allow Congress to repeal Obamacare with a simple majority but only if Congress passes a budget first.
. . .
Only four of the original 24 Obamacare health co-ops remain standing after Maryland’s co-op announced Dec. 8 it was suspending the sale of individual health insurance policies, the Daily Caller News Foundation Investigative Group has found.
With the near-collapse of Maryland’s co-op — called Evergreen Health — at least 989,000 individuals nationwide have lost their health insurance coverage when the nonprofit co-ops stopped selling insurance to customers, according to TheDCNF’s tally.
. . .
An important part of Donald Trump’s healthcare agenda is his pledge to let consumers and employers avoid unwanted regulatory costs by purchasing insurance licensed by states other than their own, a change that would make health insurance both more affordable and more secure. The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that allowing employers to avoid these unwanted regulatory costs would reduce premiums an average of 13%. That’s a nice contrast to what Bill Clinton calls ObamaCare’s “crazy system where…people [who] are out there busting it, sometimes 60 hours a week, wind up with their premiums doubled and their coverage cut in half.”
. . .
In a recent podcast, Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol made the observation:
if Obamacare had worked, Hillary Clinton would be the president-elect, right? I do think those those premiums going up two weeks before the election probably moved the necessary number of votes.
That got me to thinking how one might prove this empirically. The short answer is that I cannot prove this proposition beyond a shadow of a doubt, but the evidence is stronger than one might suppose.
To be sure, national exit polls showed that the most important issues in this campaign were the economy (52%), terrorism (18%), immigration (13%) and foreign policy (13%). However, according to David Wasserman’s definitive vote tallies at Cook Political Report, a swing of only 38,595 votes in 3 states (MI, PA, WI) would have given the election to Hillary Clinton. This represents 0.0293% of votes cast, making it the 7th closest presidential election in history in terms of this metric (p. 330). The issue for our purposes here is whether we could make a good case that Obamacare was the factor that led these crucial election-deciding voters to pull the lever for Trump rather than Clinton.
. . .
The head of America’s Health Insurance Plans, the national trade association representing health insurers, lists three key priorities for reform:
1. Commit to policies that support continuous coverage for everyone—those who utilize insurance to obtain quality care and those who are healthy but have insurance to protect them in case they get sick. Both types of consumers must be insured for coverage to remain affordable.
2. Commit to market stability in 2017 and 2019 by funding temporary, transitional funding programs at least through January 1, 2019.
3. Reduce health costs for millions of Americans by eliminating the health-insurance tax on insurers, which is passed along to employers and consumers in the form of higher premium costs.
. . .
Supporters of the 2010 health care law will launch a political coalition Friday to block its repeal. They’re targeting Republican lawmakers whose constituents may now be at risk of losing health insurance.
The initial goal is to stop Congress from repealing the law without simultaneously passing a replacement for some 20 million people covered through subsidized private health insurance and expanded Medicaid.
Called “Protect Our Care,” the group brings together organizations that helped pass the Affordable Care Act.
On the list are the NAACP, liberal advocacy groups like Families USA and the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, the Service Employees International Union, which represents many health care workers, and the Center for American Progress, a think tank closely aligned with the Obama White House.
. . .
As Republicans prepare to undo the Affordable Care Act, defenders of the law warn that repeal will leave millions of seriously ill people unable to buy health insurance. President Obama claims repeal will mean going back to discriminating against Americans with pre-existing conditions.
In truth, ObamaCare discriminates against healthy people who have to buy their coverage in the individual market. ObamaCare forces them to pay the same price as the chronically ill, whose medical costs are ten times as high, on average.
. . .
The incoming Senate Democratic leader says his party won’t help Republicans with a new health reform plan down the road if they repeal Obamacare without an immediate replacement.
Sen. Chuck Schumer, who will replace retiring Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid in January, said Republicans will have to “own” the situation if they ditch the healthcare law but don’t immediately come up with a way to replace it.
“We’re not going to do a replacement,” Schumer said of his caucus. “If they repeal without a replacement, they will own it. Democrats will not then step up to the plate and come up with a half-baked solution that we will partially own. It’s all theirs.”
. . .