After two senators dealt the second version of the Senate’s health care bill its death blow Monday night, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) announced that the chamber would vote to take up a House bill from 2015 that repeals the Affordable Care Act and then provides for a two-year delay while the Senate develops a plan to replace it.
“[I]n the coming days,” McConnell said in a statement Monday night, “the Senate will vote to take up the House bill with the first amendment being what a majority of the Senate has already supported in 2015 and that was vetoed by then-President Barack Obama: A repeal of Obamacare with a two-year delay to provide for a stable transition period to a patient-centered health care system that gives Americans access to quality, affordable care.”
— Leader McConnell (@SenateMajLdr) July 18, 2017
Repealing Obamacare without implementing a replacement would have even more devastating consequences than Trumpcare. It would result in 18 million people losing their coverage the first full year after the bill’s enactment. That number would rise to 32 million by 2026, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, which scored the repeal and delay plan when it was proposed in 2015.
Repeal and delay would also significantly increase premiums, the CBO said. In the first year following enactment of the law, premiums purchased through the marketplaces or directly from insurers would increase 20 to 25 percent relative to projections under the current law.
In the year following the elimination of the Medicaid expansion and subsidies provided by the ACA, that increase would reach about 50 percent, with premiums doubling by 2026.
The widespread confusion that repeal and delay would create would be detrimental even as the current law stays in place during the proposed two years the Senate would have to develop a replacement.
Insurers use projections to set prices, and knowing the industry is going to dramatically change but not knowing how is expected to cause insurers to pull out of the ACA marketplaces. This means higher premiums and, ultimately, a death spiral that would result in Americans losing their health insurance.
Despite the grave effects of such a move, President Donald Trump joined McConnell in calling for repeal and delay late Monday night and early Tuesday morning.
As I have always said, let ObamaCare fail and then come together and do a great healthcare plan. Stay tuned!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 18, 2017
“Republicans should just REPEAL failing ObamaCare now & work on a new Healthcare Plan that will start from a clean slate. Dems will join in!” the president tweeted Monday night.
Despite having not always said it, he added Tuesday morning, “As I have always said, let ObamaCare fail and then come together and do a great healthcare plan. Stay tuned!”
Trump didn’t detail why Americans should have confidence that the Senate could repeal Obamacare and then come up with a replacement that wouldn’t strip coverage from millions of people, given their inability to develop a plan this year.