With Republicans having won control of both houses in Congress as well as the White House, a repeal and replacement of Obamacare in some capacity is undoubtedly on the horizon.
“The repeal is necessary because [Obamacare] has so significantly increased the price of insurance, and it’s costing way more than expected for people buying through the exchanges and for taxpayers because of Medicaid expansion,” said Brian Blase at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University.
Americans with pre-existing conditions have little to fret about when it comes to coverage.
Repealing is the least of the Republicans’ concerns right now. Getting rid of Obama’s signature health care law “is easier than coalescing around what the replace plan is,” Blase told LifeZette. “And I think Congress and the new administration have a few months to figure it out.”
More difficult to discern is what will happen to those 20 million American citizens who gained coverage under the ACA, including people with pre-existing conditions.
The ACA allowed children to remain on their parents’ insurance until they were 26 years old — and it helped people with pre-existing conditions get access to health care. The details of a replacement plan have not been finalized, and it’s dangerous to speculate about anecdotal evidence. However, Dr. Ramin Oskoui, a cardiologist in Washington, D.C., and a frequent contributor to LifeZette, said Americans with pre-existing conditions have little to fret about when it comes to coverage.
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“Trump’s been very clear on repeated instances that patients with pre-existing illnesses will continue to be covered and that will not change despite his goal to repeal and replace Obamacare,” said Oskoui. “He’s got good enough political instincts to realize that that’s something he’s not going to get broad political support for.”
The physician explained that covering pre-existing conditions has three advantages: It’s the right thing to do, it’s a smart political move, and it reduces overall costs to the system. Patients with pre-existing conditions who can maintain regular visits with their doctors reduce the likelihood of catastrophic care down the line.
“The difference between Trump and the Democrats on health care is that Democrats have focused exclusively on coverage but have not addressed cost issues,” Oskoui said. “Trump has expressed repeatedly a desire to continue coverage for U.S. citizens but to lower costs — and predominantly lower costs in terms of competition and lowering drug costs.”
Trump has also pointed out that Medicaid — in states where it’s expanded or not — “is failing the people it’s meant to serve. His public statements make it clear that he does not want that entitlement taken from those who need it, but simply wants to improve the quality of care involved,” Oskoui added.
Policy experts and individuals who suggest otherwise, he said, are simply engaging in fear-mongering and have not done even a basic Google search of Trump’s publicly available policy statements and expressed views.
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The months ahead will reveal what’s in store for the health care industry in the United States, which makes up one-seventh of the total economy.