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Midterm Election Results: Examining Potential Consequences of Repeal

Posted on November 17, 2012 by admin
With midterm elections still fresh in the minds of Americans, the public collectively turns its gaze toward the near future, a future that will be led by the Republicans’ extended majority in the House of Representatives. Primarily, the people are interested in how the election results will affect Obamacare.

Ever since its inception, the GOP has called for the repeal of the Affordable Care Act. Now, they finally have the ammunition to fight it. By employing a tactic known as “reconciliation,” the future Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) can force the passing of a repeal bill with just 51 votes.

This was the same maneuver used by Democrats to pass Obamacare in 2010, and the result is history.

The only issue GOP members face is a Democratic president in the White House who is sure to veto the bill the moment it is presented. Yet, while the possibility of the GOP’s immediate success is slim, as even McConnell acknowledges that the Republicans would most likely require 60 votes for a majority and a signature from the president to pass repeal, there is reason to believe that Obamacare could be removed as soon as the next president is sworn into office. Given this likelihood, it’s important to contemplate the consequences of the Republicans’ plan for repeal.

The public’s first taste of Republican plans comes in the form of the GOP-backed tax credit case in the Supreme Court. Currently, the federal government runs exchanges and provides tax credits to states that did and did not set up a state health insurance exchange. Republicans are challenging this action, claiming that the ACA phrase “established by the state” only concerns those states that created exchanges. Thus, the government should not be able to pay subsidies and give tax credits to the states that refused these exchanges. Without these subsidies, millions of people will not be able to afford coverage.

Another question being raised is what will happen to those with preexisting conditions. Before the ACA, private insurance companies readily turned them away. Only after Obamacare did insurers lose the ability to turn down customers because of preexisting conditions. While Republicans would be foolish to remove this part of the healthcare law, there is no dismissing the possibility of its alteration.

Finally, one must wonder how the price of premiums and deductibles will be affected in a post-Obamacare America. By removing the Health Insurance Marketplace and the state exchanges, both of which were focal points of the ACA’s initiative to get people coverage, you run the risk of having less competitive and transparent insurers. No longer required to keep their prices low, insurance providers will be free to offer more plans with unreasonably high deductibles, which are notorious for causing bankruptcy.

There is always a chance that Republican leaders can offer an alternative to Obamacare, or that they will choose to reform rather than repeal. However, as of right now, the removal of the healthcare law seems that it will come at a high price.