Obamacare Mandate Repeal and What It Means for You

In last night’s passage of the objectionable Republican tax bill, the GOP snuck in the Obamacare Mandate repeal. A move that was so politically toxic that they couldn’t pull it off when the GOP was actively working on a healthcare reform bill. But I guess when you are already voting on a bill that allows billionaires to pass on their fortunes to their heirs tax free, why not slip in a healthcare provision that will hurt middle class and working families?

What is the Obamacare Mandate and What was it for?
The Obamacare Mandate requires that most Americans have health insurance and if they do not, they are subject to a penalty. The notion behind this idea is that ALL Americans will use healthcare at some point. It is not a market which you can decide to opt in or opt out of. If you possess a body, you are in the healthcare market and you should be required to make a basic contribution to the functioning of that market. Prior to the Obamacare mandate, whenever a non-insured person would be rushed to the hospital for an emergency, it was the people who already had insurance who paid for that hospital visit through the increased costs of medical services and premiums. The penalty also incentivized young healthy people, who customarily did not buy health insurance, to do so, thereby increasing the number of healthy people contributing to the marketplace, and if not lowering the cost, certainly slowing the growth of health insurance premiums. The Obamacare Mandate was a crucial and essential part of the overall Affordable Care Act.

What will happen after the repeal of the Obamacare Mandate?
The repeal of the mandate is the beginning of the end of Obamacare, a program, that while far from perfect, added 17 million Americans to the insurance rolls by even the most conservative estimates.

The repeal will cause insurance premiums to rise when young healthy people opt out. The uninsured rate will go back up due to people voluntarily leaving and by people who will be priced out. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that health insurance premiums will rise 10 percent yearly over the next 10 years and 13 million people will lose their health insurance. In a twist of irony, the states most negatively affected by the repeal are all red Trump states. However, the repeal does save the government $300 billions dollars, which the Republicans are of course funneling to already large and very profitable corporations.

The assault on healthcare is not just limited to the mandate repeal slipped into the abhorrent GOP tax bill. Last month President Trump promised to scrap the cost sharing subsidies to health insurance companies. Those subsidies were designed to help insurance companies offer affordable health plans with low deductibles to low-income people. If President Trump follows though with his promise, it will lead to more uninsured, higher premiums and insurers pulling out of markets all together.

This is an assault on middle class and working families. 


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