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Top unanswered questions regarding an Obamacare repeal

by Brooke Jarchow

Uncertainty continues to linger over the Trump administration’s notion to repeal and replace Obamacare. President Trump, newly-confirmed health secretary Tom Price, and others are still divided when it comes to how to pay for a replacement plan, how much of Obamacare to repeal, and other important details. It’s clear that before moving forward with a plan, the administration will need to address many unanswered questions, and we’re shining a light on 4 of them below.

How would a replacement plan be funded?

Currently, over $100 billion a year is spent on health care costs under the Affordable Care Act. To help pay for these costs, various taxes were included as provisions of the health law.

The new administration has backed getting rid of these taxes and fees, but  how would a replacement plan fund the same health care costs? If the administration is unable to come up with a way to finance a replacement health care law, people could either lose coverage or have to pay much greater costs.

How would the individual insurance markets change?

Obamacare regulates how much insurers can charge and what benefits they must provide, like covering contraceptives and maternity care. A key to Obamacare is ensuring that healthy people – not just the sick – pay for coverage, which balances out the market.

President Trump’s administration plans to allow insurers flexibility to sell different types of insurance and charge different rates. However, it is uncertain how the new plan would make sure sick people aren’t charged high rates or denied coverage, as well as how to ensure young people get coverage.

What could happen to Medicaid expansion?

Medicaid expansion under President Obama insured millions of people by allowing those making up to 138 percent of the federal poverty line to be eligible for Medicaid. During this time, 31 states opted in for the Medicaid expansion.

If the current administration repeals Obamacare, they could take away health coverage for over 10 million people who gained it through the Medicaid expansion alone.

What is the ultimate goal of President Trump’s “repeal and replace?”

Republicans have openly criticized Obamacare for years and have vowed to cut taxes, regulations, and government spending by repealing and replacing the law. President Trump has stated he wants his replacement plan to “have insurance for everybody,” including those who can’t afford it. However, there is a difference in providing insurance to everyone and providing access to insurance, since access to health insurance doesn’t guarantee the ability to pay for coverage if costs are higher.

So far, a replacement plan is not finalized and Obamacare has yet to be repealed.  GoHealth will continue to provide policy updates as they are made.

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