Tennessee taxpayers, beware. President Obama’s administration is quietly implementing one last massive taxpayer-funded bailout for special interests.

This bailout would prop up the Affordable Care Act only months before the law will likely be repealed.

So which special interests are getting your money? Health-insurance companies. Six years ago, health insurers were some of the Affordable Care Act’s biggest fans. They lobbied for the law because they thought it would be a financial windfall — it literally forces Tennesseans to buy their product.

But instead of finding gushers of cash, they’re drowning in red ink. Health insurers in Tennessee and across the country lost $3.2 billion in 2014 and over $10 billion in 2015. This year’s losses will be even higher.

. . .

During 2015, the growth in both individual-market and employer-group coverage resulted in a net increase in private-market coverage of 2 million individuals. For individual-market policies, enrollment increased by a bit more than 1.12 million individuals. For the employer-group-coverage market, enrollment in fully insured plans declined by 932,000 individuals, while enrollment in self-insured plans increased by 1.86 million individuals. The net effect of those changes was an increase of 926,000 in the number of individuals with employer-sponsored coverage in 2015.

Public program enrollment in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) increased by almost 2.77 million individuals in 2015. As in 2014, the change in Medicaid enrollment in 2015 differed notably between states that adopted the ACA’s Medicaid expansion and states that did not. States with the ACA’s Medicaid expansion in effect experienced Medicaid enrollment growth of almost 2.13 million people, while in the states without the expansion in effect, Medicaid enrollment grew by 640,000 individuals.

. . .

One of the most frequently heard claims from the Obama administration is that Obamacare is responsible for insuring 20 million adults who were previously uninsured. But Heritage Foundation research shows the administration’s figure is off by a few million.

It is important to note that the administration’s coverage estimates are based on survey data rather than calculating the actual change in coverage in different markets. Though surveys can provide useful information, they are not as precise as using enrollment data taken directly from insurance companies.

A recent analysis by The Heritage Foundation’s Edmund Haislmaier and Drew Gonshorowski uses the more accurate method, taking actual enrollment data from Medicaid and private insurance companies to assess the impact Obamacare has had on coverage.

The researchers found that just over 14 million people gained coverage from the end of 2013 to the end of 2015. Of those 14 million, 11.8 million gained their insurance through Medicaid and 2.2 million through private coverage.

. . .

The current situation presents an opportunity to replace the Affordable Care Act with a more sustainable bipartisan law. But repeal must wait until a consensus is built around a replacement plan. Not doing so – starting with repeal and delay – threatens to destabilize the individual market and harm not only those who receive subsidies from the ACA, but also everyone who now purchases insurance in the individual market.

Estimates show that premiums would jump at least 20 percent and cause 4.3 million to lose health insurance as soon as next year, and that’s nothing compared to the damage that would be inflicted if a replacement plan subsequently failed to emerge. The current version of repeal through reconciliation, leaving in place the ACA’s insurance market reforms, would nearly destroy the individual market if its provisions took effect, causing 30 million people in total to lose health insurance, leaving more uninsured than before the ACA.

Fixing the ACA is important, but replacing it with a durable plan to make health coverage broadly affordable will take time and constructive bipartisan collaboration.

. . .

Republican leaders in Congress have announced their intention to repeal key parts of Obamacare in early 2017, but delay the implementation of that repeal until 2019 or 2020. Some conservatives are complaining about this delay, arguing that the GOP should replace Obamacare immediately. But GOP leadership is right—and here’s why.

The fundamental problem is that in order to fully replace Obamacare, Republicans need to come up with a bipartisan plan that can attract the 60 votes necessary to overcome a Democratic filibuster.

. . .

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.”

. . .