During the July 27 edition of Fox News’ Happening Now, anchor Jon Scott wondered if the latest attempt by Republicans in the Senate to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the so-called “skinny repeal,” would not actually strip millions of people of their health insurance but would remove the individual mandate and allow Americans to opt out “of their own volition.” In reality, the latest GOP proposal would repeal the individual and employer mandates, end both the Prevention and Public Health Fund and the Community Health Center Fund, and defund Planned Parenthood, restricting health care access for millions. According to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the legislation would result in 15 million fewer Americans with health insurance coverage next year and would cut tens of billions of dollars from Medicaid over the coming decade. The removal of the individual mandate would also lead to a significant spike in insurance premiums on the individual market. Finally, after years of lies from Fox News and other right-wing outlets about the ACA being trapped in a “death spiral,” the skinny repeal legislation under consideration in the Senate seems likely to trigger one. From the July 27 edition of Happening Now:
JON SCOTT (HOST): If you drop the individual mandate, Vince, don't millions of people just drop from the roles of Obamacare of their own volition?
VINCE COGLIANESE: Well, this is the challenge that Republicans are facing. If they are going to drop the penalties, the individual mandate, they are going to also have to see if they can find some cost savings, for one. Because in order to get it through the reconciliation process -- and dropping the individual mandate, what they are losing is not only a revenue stream into the government, but you are going to lose a lot of people who, as you said, will drop from Obamacare because there's no inducement anymore for them to join it. Which means that only those people who have to stay on Obamacare, high-risk patients for instance, are going to see premiums rise pretty dramatically, potentially, if a lot of people decide, “Look it is just not worth it. There is no individual mandate anymore, I'm out.” So, this is a half measure, this is not a real attempt at fixing a system that needs to be fixed. If you're going after that mandate, you are going to also have to go after those out of control costs in health care.
SCOTT: So, Vince, if we get a CBO score and there is no indication that we might before a vote on the skinny repeal bill, but if we saw a CBO score that says 12, 15, 30 million people, whatever, would be lost from the health insurance roles, primarily that would be because they don’t want to enroll, they don't want to pay the penalty, right?
COGLIANESE: Right. And the CBO in general, I think, has a difficult time accessing what human behavior is going to be. But, I think that's the belief here, is that ultimately you will have people who decide, “Look, I don't need this, I'll be fine, I'm healthy, I don’t need insurance this year.” Young people especially. These are the people that the Obama administration went after. They wanted people in their 20s to be forced to join health plans because by and large, many were saying “No need, I'll be fine.”