Potential Impacts of Repealing Obamacare without Replacement Plan
DENVER – With an incoming Trump administration and majorities in Congress, the Republican Party is poised to finally make good on its promise to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
Researchers at the Urban Institute wanted to know what could happen if Congress partially repeals the ACA under a process known as “reconciliation," which Republicans tried to do last January.
The Institute found a number of probable impacts. Erin Miller, a vice president with Colorado Children's Campaign, lists a few.
"Repealing the Affordable Care Act without a replacement plan will create chaos in our health care system, blow a hole in our state budget, and leave an additional 600,000 Coloradans without health insurance," she points out.
Nearly 30 million Americans could lose coverage – 82 percent from working families, according to the Institute.
Federal health care spending would drop by $109 billion in 2019 and by $1.3 trillion over the next decade.
GOP leaders have long said they plan to repeal and replace Obamacare with a system that could include flexible grants to states.
Joan Alker, executive director of the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families, notes due to the ACA, 95 percent of children in the U.S. have health insurance.
"But now, Congress is poised to take a U-turn and taking away affordable coverage options, which would actually double the number of uninsured kids,” she states.
If Congress approves a bill similar to one vetoed by President Barack Obama last January, Miller says health care providers, and state taxpayers, would also be hit with the costs of uncompensated care, when patients without coverage can't pay their bills.
"If your neighbor goes to the hospital and can't pay, and they go into bankruptcy over that bill, when you go to the hospital next time, your costs are going to be higher,” she explains. “It's really important to have this safety net so that everyone can have health insurance coverage."
The report says reconciliation could eliminate Medicaid expansion, financial assistance for coverage, and individual and employer mandates.
The move would not affect other reforms, including prohibiting insurers from denying coverage due to preexisting conditions.