Repealing Obamacare Could Plunge U.S. Healthcare System into Chaos

Obamacare enrollment sign

A group of experts argues that repealing Obamacare could destabilize the entire health care system if it is not done correctly. Republicans have long sought to undo President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare law, and now they have a chance since they control Congress and have a Republican in the Oval Office. What’s more, the PEOTUS Donald Trump pledged to dismantle the law as soon as he assumed office.

Experts, on the other hand, noted that 20 million people rely on the Affordable Care Act for health insurance. So, cutting health coverage to all these people immediately could have long-term consequences for the entire health system. Most people get their insurance via subsidized exchanges or expanded Medicaid programs. Medicaid gives low-income families access to health care in more than 24 states.

Experts at the Health Policy and Strategy Associates believe the new administration would be stuck with the law for the next two years. They will have no other option but to implement it while they phase it out. Experts expect Trump’s team to start with subsidies and Medicaid expansion. These two should be history by the end of 2019. In the meantime, the administration would work on an alternative for people left in a limbo, said one attorney from the law firm Foley Hoag.

House Speaker Paul Ryan’ recently offered some hints on how Republicans plan to reverse the healthcare reforms.  In his “A Better Way” health plan, Ryan included several proposals very dear to Trump such as health savings accounts, greater competition on the health insurance market, and customized tax credits.

ACA critics often said they lack freedom of choice and the GOP may want to deliver just that. Critics also say Obamacare is very stiff as it is very clear on what it can deliver and not.

Republicans’ Plan Has Its Flaws

Nevertheless, Ryan’s plan is not flawless. It will remove the unpopular individual mandate, which forces individuals to get coverage or pay fine. But it will preserve a ban on insurers that discriminate against patients with a pre-existent medical condition. Still, the exemption comes with strings attached: it only applies to people who maintain insurance coverage.

Ryan’s plan also scraps Obamacare’s requirements for health plans to include preventive services such as screenings, birth control, and checkups. Critics of these services claim they’re too burdening. Instead, insurers will focus on cheaper plans. They will also have the green light to surcharge older and sicker patients. Experts agree Republicans will fight for more efficient plans.

The GOP also wants to put a cap on how much money companies can deduct for the plans. They’ll achieve this by removing the Cadillac excise tax, whose purpose was to keep health-plan costs down.

Lawmakers hope that without the Cadillac Tax they will reduce the tax level and bring more revenue. They also expect savings of $250 billion per year. In addition, removing ACA exchange plan tax credits would save $40 billion more. However, other Republicans tried to cap the exemption for employer-backed plans and utterly failed. George W. Bush tried to do it in 2008 without success.

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