It turns out that Republicans weren’t one hundred percent honest with the voters about ACA repeal. Republicans can pass a bill legislation repealing the law in 2017, but Obamacare will remain, and those who sign up will keep their insurance until at least 2018.
The Cleveland Plain Dealer reported:
Most of the big changes, which could include an end to taxpayer subsidies for many individuals and families, won’t be felt until 2018, said both U.S. Sens. Rob Portman, an Ohio Republican, and Sherrod Brown, an Ohio Democrat.
“You don’t want to pull the rug out from under people who, through no fault of their own, find themselves in a situation where they’re relying on the subsidies or for that matter people who are in businesses that are relying on the mandates and the kind of coverage that’s required” right now, Portman said.
“So I think we need to be careful. Same with Medicaid expansion. I think there has to be that assurance.”
Even if the ACA is replaced, the insurance companies are required by law to continue providing coverage through 2017. People are not going to abruptly lose their access to healthcare as soon as Donald Trump takes office. The President elect’s promise to immediately repeal and replace Obamacare was a lie. Whether Trump knew it or not, he and Republicans in Congress don’t have the power to immediately change the health insurance system.
The answers are a bit murkier on the question of subsidies, but tens of millions of people are not going to wake one morning in January of 2017 and no longer have health insurance.
The Republican tone has changed now that they won the election. What was once a promise to immediately repeal and replace the ACA has become a bill that will repeal, but everyone will still have insurance, with replacement to follow in 2018.
It is easy to see why Republicans weren’t honest about the time frame. Repeal and replace Obamacare maybe over the next couple of years isn’t nearly as catchy.
The future of quality affordable health care coverage remains in jeopardy for tens of millions of Americans, but legally people can’t be thrown out into the metaphorical cold, and Democrats will have a year to fight to save healthcare.