Obamacare: Will Trump repeal the law?
Surprise, surprise, said Steven Pearlstein in WashingtonPost.com. After months of claiming he would repeal the Affordable Care Act on his first day in office, Donald Trump is already waffling. The president-elect said last week he wanted to keep two of the law’s most popular provisions: allowing young people to stay on their parents’ policies until age 26 and forbidding insurers from denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions. But Trump is headed for a “rude awakening.” The provision for pre-existing conditions forces insurers to cover lots more older, sick people at great expense. Under Obamacare, insurers are compensated for this extra cost through the individual mandate, which requires young, healthy people to buy insurance, too, thereby expanding the risk pool. Remove that mandate, as Trump and his party want to do, and insurers would have to raise premiums to unaffordable levels—bringing us back to 2008, when a steadily rising percentage of Americans didn’t have any health insurance at all. Alas, you can’t have “the good parts” of Obamacare “without the bad parts.”
That’s not entirely true, said Ramesh Ponnuru in NationalReview.com. Instead of scrapping the pre-existing condition rule, Trump should simply modify it so that insurers would have to cover sick people at the same rates if they maintained coverage all along. That would remove the incentive for people to buy insurance only when they get sick—providing an incentive for young, healthy people to get covered without requiring them to do so. Perhaps, but that would punish people who lose their job and their coverage or “drop coverage temporarily because of economic reversals,” said Michael Hiltzik in the Los Angeles Times. For years, obstructionist Republicans have wrongly blamed all the ills of the health-care system on Obamacare, but now they will have to own whatever replaces it—and the anger of voters who lose coverage or pay more for it.
Republicans will never dare repeal Obamacare outright, said Megan McArdle in BloombergView.com. They voted to do so when they knew President Obama would wield his veto—but now their actions could deprive millions of voters of insurance. So what will the GOP do? Most likely, the party will simply wait for the Affordable Care Act to “die a natural death,” as premiums continue to rise, and insurers and consumers bail out. Then Trump will be able to blame Obama—and our health-care system will be back to square one.
▪When asked to describe how they felt about Donald Trump’s election as president, 48% of Americans responded with words such as “disappointed,” “devastated,” and “worried.” 40% chose “happy,” “hopeful,” and “relieved.” 12% were neutral.
ABC News/SSRS Poll
▪Among those who voted for Hillary Clinton, 76% say they accept Trump as president and 23% do not.