New Mexicans grapple with threat of Obamacare repeal


Congressional leaders and President-elect Donald Trump have pledged that repeal legislation and the GOP alternative to replace will occur at roughly the same time. In the meantime, Vice President-elect Mike Pence says, the Trump administration can deal with any problems by executive action.

Rep. Larry Buchson, R-Ind., who sponsored a bill to change the cap, predicted Thursday that some form of it will "absolutely" be part of whatever replacement Republicans put forth for Obamacare. And we have to step in before things get even worse. The cycle also will give Democrats a shot at winning back some of the 900-plus state legislative seats they lost since Obama was elected, perhaps rolling back supermajorities the GOP now enjoys in many state capitals. It will be his first public appearance before Congress since he announced just before the election that the Federal Bureau of Investigation was studying additional emails connected to Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, a revelation many Democrats say contributed to her defeat by Trump.

The cap is a major factor in the rising costs, Heritage Foundation health care policy analysts Edmund Haislmaier and Drew Gonshorowski wrote in a 2015 policy paper.

"In the Affordable Care Act we made sure contraception, preventive care services, health care screenings, mammograms were affordable and accessible and if we take that away these families are left without the basic care they need to survive". They say people with pre-existing conditions will still have access to health insurance, and that parents can keep their adult children on their health plans until age 26.

"Obamacare is a deeply flawed law that has led to disruptions for many families and individuals', higher costs through increased co-pays and higher deductibles, and higher taxes for millions of hardworking families".

Proposals to change the cap illustrate a key question in the debate over replacing the nation's health care policy, said Cynthia Cox, a Henry J. Kaiser Foundation health reform expert.

Overall, 20 million previously uninsured Americans have gained health insurance coverage since enactment of the Affordable Care Act. Republican leaders expect to enact a repeal as early as next month; House Speaker Paul Ryan said it would "definitely" come in the first 100 days.

The underlying political factor here is that, as unpopular as the law has been from the start, an increasing proportion of Americans prefer to fix it rather than replace it. "Mississippians understand that this expensive, big government experiment is not working well". "In the more than 50 years that they have been measuring the rate of growth, it has never been slower than now". Filibusters take 60 votes to halt in a chamber Republicans control by just 52-48.

It's likely a handful of House Republicans will similarly oppose the measure, but not enough to tank it. Susan Collins of Maine, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, Tom Cotton of Arkansas and Bob Corker of Tennessee.

"If we go down this path, we won't have repeal and replace", said Rep. John Yarmuth of Kentucky, senior Democrat on the House Budget Committee.

The stakes are enormous, both substantively and politically. Health care premiums are jumping by double digits this year, and the health care marketplaces created by the law are short on the healthy consumers who make insurance companies profitable. It's uncertain what elements of the law the GOP will initially target. They are too hard to explain to the public; their constituents hate them; and it's too easy to tuck in provisions they might regret voting for down the road.