Health care consultant and expert Bob Laszewski offers this rather humorous analysis of Mitt Romney’s promise to repeal the Affordable Care Act by issuing waivers to states and pushing a repeal bill through the reconciliation process.
Romney aides claim the former Massachusetts governor will allow states to ignore the requirements of the ACA by trying to expand the scope of the law’s “flexibility” waivers — which allow states that agree to provide health care coverage to their residents to opt out from implementing the individual mandate, the employer penalty for not providing coverage, and the exchange regulations. Romney will attempt to stretch the law to its breaking point by redefining the terms of the waiver:
For example, the Romney camp is suggesting that the requirement to provide coverage to a comparable number of people doesn’t refer to how many people are covered but instead allows them to interpret that as just making a comparable number of health insurance plans available in the market.
It is possible that a Romney administration could try to delay implementation of critical parts of the law from the scheduled January 1, 2014 implementation date. With so much of the implementation of the law up in the air waiting for a Supreme Court ruling and the 2012 election results, it is not out of the question that there will have to be delays past 2014, no matter who is president. But if Romney tried any delays intended to derail the law, I would have to believe that about every liberal and progressive group in America would instantly be in front of about every federal judge in the land—likely with success.
The reconciliation bit works no better. Without the necessary 60 votes in the Senate for full repeal, “budget reconciliation bill would have to apply only to the budget-related elements of the new law” and would leave many portions intact. “Romney could end up creating a chaotic environment driven by enormous uncertainty over just which parts of the new health care law would be implemented–for consumers, health care providers, and insurers,” Laszewski argues before asking, “Doesn’t that make you feel better?”