Despite what the fake news media are telling you, Obamacare is on its way out. Here’s a few reasons why we can make this not-terribly-bold prediction.
1. Every Republican in Congress has vowed to “repeal and replace” Obamacare since it became law in 2010. It’s been a key GOP talking point for seven years. They control the White House and both chambers of Congress. Republicans in Congress will get it done or else face the kind of backlash that Bill Clinton experienced in 1994 when he both failed to pass his own highly-touted Hillarycare health care reform package and riled up his Republican opposition in the meantime. If the Republicans don’t repeal and replace Obamacare before the 2018 midterms, and the Democrats and their allies in the media keep their blood pressure sky-high, the 2018 elections could be one in which disillusioned Republicans stay home and mad-as-heck Democrats and independents turn out en masse to give progressives control of the Congress again. Bottom line: the Republicans will repeal and replace Obamacare in a timely manner because it is politically expedient for them to do so.
2. Trump signed an executive order instructing federal agencies to give people as much wiggle room as possible in order to avoid facing penalties under Obamacare while the law is still on the books. According to Reason, that has already had a profound effect at the Internal Revenue Service, where tax filers this year can submit their tax returns without indicating whether or not they’ve had health insurance coverage in 2016 without necessarily facing a penalty or a rejected tax return. As one analyst said, “It’s hard to enforce something without information.” This change doesn’t necessarily mean you can get around Obamacare scot-free, but when an onerous agency like the IRS loosens it rules, we’re close to that point.
3. Companies are simply fleeing the health care exchange markets set up under Obamacare. Humana said Feb. 14 that it will be completely out as of 2018. Aetna is reducing its presence from fifteen states to four states this year. As Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini said Feb. 15, Obamacare “is in a death spiral,” due to massive losses incurred by private insurers and rising premiums forcing healthy individuals to abandon Obamacare.
4. Lastly but most importantly, Trump staked a large part of his candidacy on “repeal and replace.” It was a major talking point during the last months of the campaign against Hillary Clinton. Voters sensed in Trump not only the willingness to take a position they liked, but the ability to push through to get that position enshrined in law. As with Congressional Republicans, Trump will get it done — or else. And Trump doesn’t strike me as someone who likes to be perceived as a failure by his fans. In fact, his nature will drive him to not only make sure it gets done, but that he gets the credit for getting it done. That seems very likely to happen given the squabbling amongst Congressional Republicans about how to “repeal and replace” Obamacare. Trump’s setting them up for a deus ex machina moment where he gets to be the hero who saves his party, saves his country’s health care system, and proves himself a man of his word.