Should-Read: Kevin Drum: Obamacare Repeal Is Doomed

Should-Read: Kevin Drum: Obamacare Repeal Is Doomed: “Republicans. Can’t. Repeal. Obamacare…

…Democrats [need to]… focus on… the provision of Obamacare that bans insurers from turning down customers or charging them extra for coverage…. Republicans say they favor keeping it. Donald Trump says he favors keeping it. It’s not a minor regulation. It is absolutely essential to any health care plan…. Repealing Obamacare but leaving in place the pre-existing conditions ban would destroy the individual insurance market and leave tens of millions of people with no way to buy insurance….

Take me. I’m currently being kept alive by about $100,000 worth of prescriptions drugs each year. If I can go to any insurer and demand that they cover me for $10,000, that’s a certain loss of $90,000. If millions of people like me do this, insurance companies will lose billions. In the employer market… this is workable because insurers have lots and lots of healthy, profitable people at each company to make up these losses. In the individual market—after you’ve repealed the individual mandate and the subsidies—they don’t….

Every insurance company in America would simply stop selling individual policies. It would be political suicide to make this happen, and this means that Democrats have tremendous leverage if they’re willing to use it. It all depends on how well they play their hand. The current Republican hope is that they can repeal parts of Obamacare, and then hold Democrats hostage: vote for our replacement plan or else the individual insurance market dies. There’s no reason Democrats should do anything but laugh at this…. Pre-existing conditions is the hammer Democrats can use to either save Obamacare or else demand that any replacement be equally generous. They just have to use it.


Brad DeLong
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