Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Repealing Obamacare

The New York Times has a nifty graphic that illustrates the difficulties Republicans face in repealing Obamacare. The architects of the Affordable Care Act made the various elements of the law so interdependent that it's going to be hard to undo some parts of it without, the Times alleges, depriving some 22 million people of insurance coverage, which would be a very unpopular result.

The problem with the Times' graphic, though, is that it nowhere mentions how many people have lost coverage under the ACA because they could no longer afford the premiums and didn't qualify for subsidies. Nor does it discuss the number of people who were able to keep their insurance but were forced to pay higher premiums. Nor does it give any idea how many of those 22 million who are projected to lose coverage would be able to find coverage elsewhere.

All these figures are hard to determine, but without having them in hand it's difficult to measure the impact of repealing a law that even many Democrats who voted for it in 2010 are admitting needs to be overhauled.

Another difficulty in assessing the impact of repeal is that until we know what it will be replaced with we have no way of knowing how many people will be negatively affected. The 22 million figure presupposes that nothing is put in place of the repealed law, but too many Republicans would withhold voting for repeal unless there was a replacement ready to go. The political realities seem to dictate that repeal and replacement will be concurrent.

Allahpundit at Hot Air scrutinizes this problem and provides some interesting insight into the GOP's alternatives.

Meanwhile, President-elect Trump seems to be pushing for rapid repeal so there better be something ready to replace it with or else we could have a situation even less desirable than the current law.