Senate Republicans are floating a possible vote on a bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) without a replacement plan in place, a proposal that has been pushed by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), President Donald Trump, and right-wing media. But this plan would leave tens of millions uninsured, cause a spike in premiums, and cause insurers to flee the market.
Senate considers holding vote on bill to repeal ACA with no replacement
ABC: McConnell “called for a vote to repeal Obamacare with a two-year delay” to find a replacement. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) announced on July 17 that the Senate would vote “to repeal Obamacare” with a “two-year delay” before finding a replacement for the law, according to ABC News. President Donald Trump echoed McConnell in a tweet, ABC reported, urging Republicans to “vote to repeal Obamacare first and then ‘attempt to craft’ a replacement” later. From the July 18 article:
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has called for a vote to repeal Obamacare with a two-year delay after the plan to replace the law failed to win enough Republican support.
“Regretfully, it is now apparent that the effort to repeal and immediately replace the failure of Obamacare will not be successful,” McConnell said in a statement. McConnell said that “in the coming days,” the Senate would vote on “a repeal of Obamacare with a two-year delay to provide for a stable transition period to a patient-centered health care system that gives Americans access to quality, affordable care.”
President Trump in an apparent response to the announcements by [Sens. Jerry] Moran [(R-KS)] and [Mike] Lee [(R-UT)] urged Republicans to vote to repeal Obamacare first and then “attempt to craft” a replacement. [ABC News, 7/18/17]
Right-wing media have pushed for the GOP to refocus attention on repealing the ACA
Fox’s Ainsley Earhardt: It might be “safest” to repeal Obamacare without a replacement plan. Fox & Friends co-host Ainsley Earhardt suggested that it might be “safest” for Senate Republicans to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) without a replacement plan. Co-host Steve Doocy said the repeal-and-delay tactic is “what people voted for” even after co-host Brian Kilmeade said an outright ACA repeal “would be a disaster.” From the July 13 edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends:
STEVE DOOCY (CO-HOST): Here's the problem right now. Keep in mind there are 10 Republican senators who have said no. Right now, they're not even to the point, they don't have the votes to proceed at this point. So a little later on this morning, [Senate Majority Leader] Mitch [McConnell] is going to unveil the latest version of it. The highlights of it -- people who are critics of it say, "Look, you've got -- you've still got a lot of the regulations from Obamacare. You've got the taxes from Obamacare. You've got the insurance subsidies of Obamacare. Everything people have voted over the last number of years to get rid of still baked into the new bill. So that's why a lot of people feel there's a real good possibility this thing is not going to pass.
BRIAN KILMEADE (CO-HOST): Well, a guy like [Sen.] Ted Cruz [(R-TX)] has an amendment. They're really looking at what Ted Cruz is putting forward. It's not perfect for a conservative like him. But he understands a center-right plan is better than Obama's plan, which Republicans view is wrong. But [Sen.] Rand Paul [(R-KY)], who's joining us in an hour and 15 minutes, says, “Right now I'm a no. The Senate bill does not repeal Obamacare, not even close.” However, you can't purely take out Obamacare and put a new one in because you don't have 60 Republicans. They had 60 Democrats and got them all, right? They had to bribe them, do everything --
DOOCY: Well, we had [Rep.] Mo Brooks [(R-AL)] on yesterday. He said, ”Why don't they just use the nuclear option? All they need is 50 votes. Just repeal it and then have a grace period of a couple years and come up with something.”
KILMEADE: That would be a disaster.
DOOCY: Well that's what -- that's what people voted for.
AINSLEY EARHARDT (CO-HOST): That might be the safest way to do it, though. Because if they haven't come to a compromise yet on what's best for the constituents of their state, that may be the best way to do it. Because they risk -- there's a lot of pressure on the Republicans, not only on Mitch McConnell to get this thing passed, but also to make sure it's right. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 7/13/17]
Fox’s Sean Hannity: “If you can’t replace” the ACA, “repeal it.” Fox News host Sean Hannity blasted Senate Republicans for their inaction on health care, saying, “If you can’t replace it, then do what you said -- repeal it.” From the July 13 edition of Fox News’ Hannity:
SEAN HANNITY (HOST): If you can’t replace it, then do what you said -- repeal it. You have no excuses left. You have the House, the Senate, the presidency.
I have a message for all of you in Washington: You know what? You cannot give up on repealing the quote “Affordable Care Act.” You made us a promise, the American people. For seven years, you guaranteed you’d end Obamacare. [Fox News, Hannity, 7/13/17]
TheBlaze’s Lawrence Jones: Republicans “should have just repealed the bill and then came up with solutions afterwards.” TheBlaze host Lawrence Jones said that Republicans “should have just repealed the bill and then came up with solutions afterwards,” suggesting that now Republicans should “do the full repeal and then take care of the spending stuff in a different bill.” From the July 10 edition of Fox News’ Happening Now:
LAWRENCE JONES: Back in 2010, when tea party patriots across this country protested, they said “repeal.” These establishment people are the ones that are now saying “replace,” “replace,” “replace,” “repeal and replace.” They should have just repealed the bill and then came up with solutions afterwards.
You can do the full repeal and then take care of the spending stuff in a different bill. [Fox News, Happening Now, 7/10/17]
Michelle Malkin: Republicans “had one job: repeal Obamacare.” Conservative commentator Michelle Malkin criticized “bipartisan crap weasels on both sides of the aisle” for working on a plan to repeal and replace the law rather than “a straight repeal.” From the June 28 edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends:
MICHELLE MALKIN: I have long called out the bipartisan crap weasels on both sides of the aisle. Look, so many Republicans were elected, they had one job: repeal Obamacare.
STEVE DOOCY (CO-HOST): That’s all.
MALKIN: That’s it. And it’s fairly clear to most ordinary Americans what “repeal” means. The problem with what’s happening in the Senate now stems back to the House Republicans, who couldn’t agree on a straight repeal. The repeal that they offered up during the Obama years that was clear and that made sense and that did what they promised to do. But so many of these swamp creatures overpromise and underdeliver. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 6/28/17]
The CBO found harmful consequences for a 2015 plan to repeal the ACA
CBO: Repealing the ACA would leave 32 million people uninsured by 2026. A January report by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) found that a proposal to repeal portions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA)would leave 18 million people uninsured in the first year. Additionally, the CBO predicted that by 2026, the number of Americans without health insurance would increase by 32 million compared to maintaining the ACA. From the CBO report:
The number of people who are uninsured would increase by 18 million in the first new plan year following enactment of the bill. Later, after the elimination of the ACA’s expansion of Medicaid eligibility and of subsidies for insurance purchased through the ACA marketplaces, that number would increase to 27 million, and then to 32 million in 2026. [Congressional Budget Office, 1/17/17]
CBO: “Premiums would about double by 2026” as insurers flee individual market. The CBO predicted that repealing portions of the ACA “would lead to substantially reduced participation by insurers and enrollees in many areas.” The CBO also reported that health insurance premiums in the individual market would increase by 20 to 25 percent in the first year alone and could increase by 50 percent over current increase projections by 2026. From the report:
Premiums in the nongroup market (for individual policies purchased through the marketplaces or directly from insurers) would increase by 20 percent to 25 percent—relative to projections under current law—in the first new plan year following enactment. The increase would reach about 50 percent in the year following the elimination of the Medicaid expansion and the marketplace subsidies, and premiums would about double by 2026. [Congressional Budget Office, 1/17/17]