The 2016 presidential election brought sweeping changes to the country, as the GOP gained a majority in both chambers of Congress. President Trump even said last year “I thought that when I won I would go to the Oval Office, sit down at my desk, and there would be a health care bill on my desk, to be honest.”
This statement couldn’t be further from the truth, as several failed attempts in Congress yielded no concrete results. So today, we’re going to explore whether Republicans will repeal and replace Obamacare.
Understanding The Political Landscape
Before we dive into this topic, it’s important to know how politics work in this country. Firstly, Congress is divided into two chambers, the House of Representatives and the Senate.
The former is comprised of 435 voting members from across the nation, and the goal of this chamber is to propose bills that are then approved by the Senate. The Republicans currently control the House with 238 seats.
On the other hand, the Senate is referred to as the upper chamber, and 100 Senators elected from each state form it. The role of this chamber is to approve legislation that comes from the House. The GOP also controls the Senate with 51 seats.
To add another layer to the mix, the President has the power to veto laws passed by Congress and can use his power to propose legislation to the House of Representatives. The President can also pass laws through executive orders, although these could be countered via the court system. This political system acts like a well-oiled machine, with checks and balances to ensure no individual has absolute power. But how does that apply to health insurance?
Republican Domination & Disparity
The Republicans now control both the House of Representatives and the Senate. Over the last 14 months, there have been several attempts to repeal, replace, or modify the Affordable Care Act, but each proposal has been defeated in the Senate. Health insurance is a divisive topic in this country, and even senior Republicans are divided on how to proceed.
The “Skinny Repeal”
After several attempts to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, House majority leader Mitch McConnell proposed what critics called “a skinny repeal” in Summer 2017. This would keep the fundamental pillars of Obamacare, but a report by the Congressional Budget Office indicated this proposal would increase the number of uninsured Americans to 15 million over the next year.
The debate reached a breaking point on July 27, 2017, in the early hours of the morning when Republican Senator John McCain struck down the proposal during a dramatic vote. McCain along with fellow Republicans Sen. Susan Collins (Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) stated they couldn’t support a bill that could potentially leave millions without coverage. So it was back to the drawing board.
The Graham-Cassidy Bill
Fast-forward to September 2017 and Sen. Lindsey Graham (South Carolina) and Bill Cassidy (Louisiana) sponsored a bill to repeal Obamacare. The proposal made headlines across the country because it planned on shaking up America’s health insurance system.
One of the controversial aspects of the bill included a cap on Medicaid funding and a redistribution of funds across all 50 states. Several critics saw this as an attack on the country’s poorest individuals. The bill didn’t even make it to a vote as Lindsey Graham announced he would be abandoning the bill in late September.
Cost-Sharing Reduction Payments
President Trump halted something called cost-sharing reduction payments (also known as CSRs) in October 2017. We’ve touched on this topic before here at HealthQuoteInfo, but we’re going to explain things again in detail.
CSRs were monthly payments made by the Obama Administration to several insurance companies across the country. The funds were worth billions of dollars, and they substantially reduced the premiums of ACA plans and made them affordable. Since President Trump announced his decision, premiums have increased across the board. Insurance companies were forced to increase the cost of premiums to compensate for the lack of funding.
This tactic is a way of undermining the Affordable Care Act without going through Congress. It doesn’t fully repeal the bill, but it causes a domino effect that results in fewer Americans enrolling in this program.
Trump’s New Proposal
Considering it’s hard to pass a new repeal-and-replace bill through Congress, Trump came up with a new proposal last month. The Department of Health and Safety announced they would be extending short-term insurance plans from the traditional three-month period, to 364 days.
This proposal would serve as direct competition to Obamacare plans, and experts suggest many young individuals would be enticed by these plans. Although nothing is set in stone yet, this is another attempt to partially dismantle the ACA.
Here at HealthQuoteInfo, we try to look at things from a practical and logical point of view. The Affordable Care Act has created deep divisions amongst the GOP, and it’s unclear if they’ll repeal and replace it in the future. However, the President Trump can continue to undermine the program, and many experts predict this will impact enrollment figures.
This subject is complicated but if you have any questions or concerns about health insurance, give our agents a call at 855-614-5057 or visit our website.