The "Unaffordable" Care Act will soon be history!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 13, 2017
On Friday, January 13, President Donald Trump took to Twitter to proclaim : “The ‘Unaffordable’ Care Act will soon be history!” As one of the headlining promises of Trump’s First 100 Days plan, the House of Representatives voted (227-198) on Friday to pass a budget resolution that will allow the Republicans to begin repealing parts of the highly contested healthcare law.
How long will it take?
According to the President, the Affordable Care Act will be both repealed and replaced “probably the same day, maybe the same hour.” Realistically, the process will prove to be more complicated and take at least several months if not years – especially since Trump has declined to offer specifics about his replacement plan other than stating that it will provide “insurance for everybody.”
The passing of the budget reconciliation bill lets Republicans avoid Senate filibusters while they repeal portions of the ACA, and allows them to pass it on a party-line vote. At the same time, many Republicans are concerned that the GOP does not have a solid plan to replace Obamacare yet, meaning that millions of Americans could potentially be left without health insurance. Another obstacle the Republicans will face is the need to have a 60-vote majority in the Senate to pass any sort of replacement measures, something that cannot be accomplished without Democratic support. Currently, Republicans hold 52 seats, but getting at least eight more could prove to be a time-consuming ordeal.
Aside from being a huge blow to the work of the Obama administration, Trump’s plan to quickly tear down the Affordable Care Act does not come without repercussions. A report released on Tuesday by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) outlined the harrowing effects that repealing Obamacare would have on the healthcare system.
Without a clear replacement plan, the report states that the partial repeal proposed by Republicans would lead to a significant increase in the number of uninsured Americans as well as create extremely high premiums for people in the individual insurance market. On a more positive note, a partial repeal would not affect certain provisions such as children's ability to stay on their parents' insurance until age 26 and insurers' inability to deny coverage based on a preexisting condition. However, the CBO report went further in projecting that a partial repeal that keeps the previously stated provisions would lead insurers to quickly leave the individual healthcare market due to a lack of incentives. The pool of people covered by the ACA would then solely be dominated by the sickly who need the coverage, thereby increasing the cost of coverage for them overall. These findings have been dismissed by the Republicans so far, as Trump has continued telling various media outlets that his replacement plan is nearly complete (without offering up specifics).
Trump spoke about the goals of his Obamacare replacement plan in an interview on Wednesday with Fox News’ “Fox & Friends.” During this interview, he stated: “We have to cover people that can’t afford it. And that’s what I’m talking about. And we’ll probably have block grants of Medicaid back into the States…Nobody is going to be dying on the streets with a President Trump.” However, amidst Trump’s many speeches, only time can provide real results.