With No Replacement Plan In Sight, Trump Supports Full Repeal Of Obamacare

Donald Trump

With a short two-sentence letter, the Trump administration signaled its intention to support complete repeal of the Affordable Care Act.

That would include removing protections that ensure individuals with pre-existing conditions be covered by health insurers.

In December, a federal judge ruled that the individual mandate of the law is unconstitutional. The ruling was the result of a lawsuit brought by 20 GOP-led states.

U.S. District Court Judge Reed O’Connor, a George W. Bush appointee in Fort Worth, Texas, wrote in his decision: “In sum, the Individual Mandate ‘is so interwoven with [the ACA’s] regulations that they cannot be separated. None of them can stand.’”

Should the law be struck down in its entirety, over 20 million Americans are estimated to lose their healthcare insurance.

On Monday, the Trump Justice Department dispatched a letter saying it supports the judge’s ruling.

“The Department of Justice has determined that the district court’s judgment should be affirmed,” the Justice Department lawyers wrote to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, which is now considering the case. “The United States is not urging that any portion of the district court’s judgment be reversed.”

At this time, however, Republicans in Congress have no plan to replace the ACA should it be struck down as a whole.

House Democrats call the Trump administration’s new legal position “unconscionable.”

A coalition of Democratic-led states led by California is fighting the Texas ruling, arguing that the federal health care law can remain in place even without the individual mandate which dictates a small penalty fee/tax for those Americans who choose not to purchase health coverage.

Politico is reporting today that Monday’s announcement was opposed by two key Cabinet secretaries: Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and Attorney General William Barr.

No matter the resulting ruling at the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, expect the case to land at the Supreme Court. The high court has upheld the constitutionality of the ACA twice – in 2012 and in 2105.

U.S. Senate: Bipartisan Agreement Emerges To Stablize Obamacare

The Hill is reporting that Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) have announced a bipartisan agreement to stabilize the Affordable Care Act.

The deal would extend key Obamacare payments to insurers for two years and give states more flexibility to change Obamacare rules.

President Trump had announced he was cutting off the payments last week, a move that many said would raise ObamaCare premiums and lower enrollment.

More from the New York Times:

“This takes care of the next two years,” Mr. Alexander said. “After that, we can have a full-fledged debate on where we go long-term on health care.”

The deal between Mr. Alexander, the chairman of the Senate health committee, and Ms. Murray, the panel’s top Democrat, is an important step for lawmakers hoping to shore up insurance markets after Republicans’ failed efforts to repeal the health law.

Mr. Alexander told reporters on Monday that Mr. Trump had encouraged him to reach a deal with Ms. Murray.

But it remains to be seen whether conservative-leaning Republicans will get on board with the agreement, and whether the House will entertain it. Some Republicans have said they do not wish to provide what they describe as a bailout to insurers.

Trump On Health Care Fail: “We’ll Let Obamacare Fail”

President Donald Trump side-stepped responsibility on health care reform today saying he would let Obamacare “fail” after six months of botched efforts by his own party to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

“I think we’re probably in that position where we’ll let Obamacare fail,” the president told reporters at the White House. “We’re not going to own it. I’m not going to own it. I can tell you, the Republicans are not going to own it.”

According to Trump, “the Democrats are gonna come to us” and ask how to fix it, working with the GOP.

Highlighting how out of the health care loop he was during the past few weeks, Trump added he was “very surprised” when two GOP senators suddenly withdrew support for the Republican health care bill on Monday night, sealing the bill’s fate.

“The way I look at it, we’re going to have to get some more people elected that are Republican,” Trump said.

Republicans currently hold majorities in both chambers of Congress as well as the White House. After seven years of voting to repeal the ACA, it’s incredible no one had a plan ready to go that Repubs could get behind.

#smh

Watch Trump speak to the press below:

White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders blamed the minority Democrats, as if that makes any sense:

Senate GOP Health Care Bill Crashes As More Republicans Announce “No” Votes

The Senate Republican health care bill came to a crashing halt last night as two more senators announced they would not be supporting the legislation.

Sens. Mike Lee of Utah and Jerry Moran of Kansas joined Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul and Maine Sen. Susan Collins in opposition to the bill. With a bare two vote margin in the Senate, those defections were enough to kill the legislation.

House and Senate Republicans have railed against the Affordable Healthcare Act for years promising to repeal and replace if they had the chance. However, seven months of control of the White House, Senate and House of Representatives has yielded nothing.

The news was apparently a surprise to the Trump White House who, hours before the news broke, held a dinner with Republican Senators.

Via Politico:

At a dinner with GOP senators on Monday evening, Trump said the party would look like “dopes” if they couldn’t pass the bill after passing a repeal bill in 2015.

“If the Republicans have the House, Senate and the presidency and they can’t pass this health care bill, they are going to look weak,” Trump said, according to a source familiar with the meeting. “How can we not do this after promising it for years?”

Trump had no idea defections were coming Monday night, according to another White House official with knowledge of the meeting. “Why would we have a dinner like that if we knew people were going to drop out?” the official said.

As Sens. Lee and Moran were preparing their announcement, President Trump said publicly, “We’re going to get that done, and I think we’re going to surprise a lot of people.”

During the presidential campaign, Trump said over and over again how he and the GOP would definitely repeal and replace Obamacare, and they would do it “very, very quickly.”

Let’s take a trip in the way-back machine:

Remember back in October of 2016 where Donald Trump told his followers, “You’re gonna have such great health care at a tiny fraction of the cost, and it’s going to be so easy.”

Just four months later, this was President Trump’s new epiphany:

Trump now says Congress should just repeal and worry about new health care legislation later.

That doesn’t look to be a winning strategy either as Republican Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Sen. Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia have all said publicly they would oppose a vote to repeal Obamacare without a replacement. So, that plan is dead on arrival.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has already scored a repeal-only option and the results are catastrophic. The CBO’s analysis shows 32 million more Americans would be uninsured by 2026 and individual premiums would double.

So. Much. Winning.

Congressional Budget Office: 14 Million Could Lose Healthcare Coverage In 2018

The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (currently run by a Republican) has issued it’s findings on the American Health Care Act which has been proposed to replace Obamacare.

In short, instead of covering more people, fewer folks will have healthcare.

From CNN:

Fourteen million more Americans would be uninsured under the House Republican health care bill than under Obamacare in 2018, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office said Monday.

The long-anticipated score immediately puts the writers and supporters of the GOP Obamacare bill on the defensive. It is also certain to complicate the party’s already troubled efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

The Republican bill, titled the American Health Care Act, would reduce the federal deficits by $337 billion over 10 years, the CBO said.

The legislation, introduced last Monday, has sparked deep concern among Republican lawmakers in both the House and the Senate. The sources of unease are wide-ranging.

Prominnent conservatives on Capitol Hill, for example, have argued that the bill doesn’t go far enough, labeling it “Obamacare Lite.” One element of the legislation that has drawn fierce scorn is the refundable tax credits, which conservative Republicans say amounts to an entitlement program.

As proposed Medicaid changes go into effect, the CBO projects this could rise to 24 million by 2026.

President Trump has endorsed the plan.

You may recall President Trump, on January 25, said, “We’re gonna come up with a new plan that’s going to be better health care for more people at a lesser cost.”

“I firmly believe that nobody will be worse off financially in the process that we’re going through,” Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday.

Bolding is mine.

Poll: 54% Of Americans Support Obamacare

While Congressional Republicans are moving quickly to push their “repeal & replace” of the Affordable Care Act (also known as “Obamacare”), a new poll shows the 2010 health care legislation has hit it’s highest level of support yet.

According to Pew Research, 54% approve of the health care law passed seven years ago by Barack Obama and Congress, while 43% disapprove

This past December, the numbers were much closer – 48% approved versus 47% disapproved.

Of course, the results fall right down partisan divisions: Democrats show 85% approval for the ACA, while Republicans disapprove to the tune of 89%.

A slight majority of Independents (53%) approve, with 45% giving a thumbs down.

Matt Baume On How The Repeal Of Obamacare Would Affect LGBTs

From super-smart guy Matt Baume (via Huffington Post):

If the ACA is repealed, as Republicans are trying to do, not only would 32 million people lose health care, according to the Congressional Budget Office, but LGBTs would be disproportionately affected. And “disproportionately affected” is a phrase which here means “get sick and die.”

For example, HIV treatment can cost thousands of dollars per month. Insurance companies that don’t want to pay for that treatment could just refuse to cover all gay people on the basis that gay men are more likely to be HIV positive. Or they could raise monthly premiums just for gays. Or they could create a lifetime cap, so you pay into their system and then as soon as you need expensive treatment, they drop you. All this was legal until the ACA banned it.