Saturday, December 10, 2016

New Report Shows Repealing Obamacare Would Make Things Worse Than Before It Was Passed

The congressional Republicans have tried to repeal Obamacare (the Affordable Care Act) more than 50 times. This was political theater, because they knew President Obama would veto any repeal it it got to his desk (and none of those efforts ever reached his desk, because Senate Democrats blocked them).

But now they have a Republican who will soon occupy the White House, and he's a Republican that said one of his first acts would be to repeal Obamacare. They now have to put their actions where their mouths have been -- or their teabagger base (that currently controls their party) would turn on them. They have no choice -- either repeal Obamacare, or lose their jobs in the future to even more ridiculous right-wingers.

And that's exactly what they are planning to do. They know they can't outright repeal Obamacare. The Democrats have enough senators to filibuster that to death. But they can kill Obamacare with a budget reconciliation bill that would defund it, and that kind of bill cannot be filibustered. That would effectively kill it by eliminating the money for Medicaid expansion and eliminating the subsidies that helped many others to buy insurance through state and federal insurance exchanges. They are already preparing that bill, and could have it on Trump's desk very soon after he is sworn in.

Many, including me, have said that such a bill would take insurance away from around 20 million people. But a new report, from the Urban Institute's Health Policy Center, shows that the effect would be worse that that. It would result in 29.8 million people losing their health insurance, raising the number of uninsured Americans to 58.7 million people -- more than were uninsured before Obamacare was passed. In other words, the partial repeal (defunding) Obamacare would make the nation's health care system worse than it was before Obamacare was passed.

I think this would be political suicide for the Republican Party, and some of them know it and are starting to get afraid, but I also think they will do it anyway. While I do not want to see Obamacare repealed (because of the tragedy that would bring to many citizens), that could be the biggest boost the Democratic Party could get.

The charts above show the effect the partial repeal would have on the nation and each individual state's number of uninsured citizens. Here is some of what the Urban Institute's report said:

The key effects of passage of the anticipated reconciliation bill are as follows:
  •   The number of uninsured people would rise from 28.9 million to 58.7 million in 2019, an increase of 29.8 million people (103 percent). The share of nonelderly people without insurance would increase from 11 percent to 21 percent, a higher rate of uninsurance than before the ACA because of the disruption to the nongroup insurance market.

  •   Of the 29.8 million newly uninsured, 22.5 million people would become uninsured as a result of eliminating the premium tax credits, the Medicaid expansion, and the individual mandate. The additional 7.3 million people would become uninsured because of the near collapse of the nongroup insurance market.

  •   Eighty-two percent of the people becoming uninsured would be in working families, 38 percent would be ages 18 to 34, and 56 percent would be non-Hispanic whites. Eighty percent of adults becoming uninsured would not have college degrees.

  •   There would be 12.9 million fewer people with Medicaid or CHIP coverage in 2019.

  •   Approximately 9.3 million people who would have received tax credits for private nongroup health coverage in 2019 would no longer receive assistance.

    1. This scenario does not just move the country back to the situation before the ACA. It moves the country to a situation with higher uninsurance rates than before the ACA. To replace the ACA after reconciliation with new policies designed to increase insurance coverage, the federal government would have to raise new taxes, substantially cut spending, or increase the deficit. 

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