With Senate Republicans struggling to agree on a proposal to overhaul the Affordable Care Act, President Trump urged them Friday morning just to repeal the dang thing and worry about replacing it later.
That would be the same President Trump who insisted earlier this year that repealing with no plan to replace was unacceptable. As did Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), by the way, who now is also in the repeal-first, ask-questions-later camp.Trump was right the first time. So were the many other elected officials, industry executives and healthcare experts who persuaded Republicans hellbent on repealing Obamacare to consider what might happen to, you know, their constituents.
Conservative analyst Sally Pipes (who takes a back seat to no one when it comes to criticizing Obamacare), argued in January in the Washington Examiner that repealing the ACA without having a replacement in hand would be “disastrous,” in terms of both policy and politics. That’s because it would send the state marketplaces for individual insurance polices (i.e., the ones for people not covered by a large employer’s plan) into a death spiral, and the public would blame Republicans for it.
“Insurers would have little reason to continue offering coverage through the marketplaces if those marketplaces were to eventually disappear,” Pipes wrote. “Absent the individual mandate [to buy insurance], healthy consumers would have even less reason to buy coverage. So the few insurers that remained on the exchanges would have to hike premiums ever higher to cover the cost of insuring the sick folks who remained in the insurance pool.”