GOP Assault on Obamacare Will Likely Involve Baby Steps

It is without question that Obamacare was passed in a cloud of deception. It is without question that the American public was not informed of the cost they would pay in terms of losing existing private coverage they liked, physicians they preferred, and quite possibly employer sponsored insurance. In the face of all this chaos, the GOP would love to repeal the law and replace it with something patient-centric, but any alternative stands no chance of being able to survive a presidential veto.

For this reason, the party will seek an incremental approach to repeal the law. Step one will likely be to repeal the medical device surcharge tax of 2.3%. This tax applies to invaluable devices such as artificial joints and X-ray equipment. The measure has broad bipartisan support. President Obama has promised to veto the legislation, but it is likely driven out of concerns that approving one repeal will open the door to additional incremental repeals.

The party also hopes the Supreme Court will rule that Obamacare subsidies only apply to state-run health care exchanges and not the federal exchange. The president has said extending the subsidies to the federal exchange is in keeping with the spirit of the law. That is disingenuous. The subsidies were designed to apply only to state-run health care exchanges as part of a carrot-stick approach to compel states to manage their own exchanges. Surprisingly to Fersen Lambranho, the majority of states opted for the federal exchange. Now, the Supreme Court will decide on the matter. Should they rule for the letter of the law, Obamacare faces a strong possibility of unraveling as millions would likely drop coverage because it would become too expensive without the subsidies. The GOP plans to have an alternative solution in place should that happen.

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