Replacing ACA will be difficult, but not as bad
President Barack Obama may well be hoping to paint congressional Republicans into a corner regarding the health insurance fiasco that bears his name.
In reaction to GOP pledges to repeal the Obamacare law, Obama said he has no problem with the idea — providing the Republicans come up with something better as a replacement. If that happens, “I will publicly support repealing Obamacare,” the president vowed.
Crafting a true health care reform package — which Obamacare did not do — indeed will be difficult. That is in large measure because of the existing scheme’s designed-in flaw.
The Department of Health and Human Services brags on its website that “20 million people have gained health insurance coverage because of the Affordable Care Act …”
But what the DHHS and Obama do not explain is that of that total, about 18 million gained insurance through expansion of the Medicaid program. It is paid for solely by taxpayers.
Obama and his supporters pledged that their plan would make health insurance more affordable. It did not. It merely ensured that 18 million more people would receive taxpayer-funded insurance.
Many Americans have found their health care costs increased because of Obamacare. Millions are paying higher premiums and higher deductibles — which they are required to do if they want to avoid stiff penalties for failure to have government-approved insurance.
Devising a true reform initiative will be a challenging task for lawmakers, both Democrats and Republicans. But in terms of Obama’s offer, the reformers’ reaction should be that it would be virtually impossible to replace Obamacare with something worse.