Reports coming out of Washington suggest that Republicans may have bitten off more than they would like to chew with repealing & replacing the ACA, with a proliferation of proposals and no consensus on which to support, or how to get the 60 Senate votes needed to turn an eventual consensus plan into law.
There is a general consensus in the GOP to proceed with the budget reconciliation process, but if they pass the bill the House passed in 2015, it will immediately defund plan subsidies and the Medicaid expansion, setting up 25 million or more to lose their coverage right around midterm elections in 2018.
Even a less drastic budget reconciliation bill, for example one that gets rid of the individual and employer mandates by deleting the penalties associated with them, would leave us with a, “zombie ACA”, with everything not budget-related still in place, but malfunctioning with unintended consequences.
All this uncertainty is bad—it’s bad for the government, it’s bad for industry, and most importantly, it’s bad for the tens of millions of confused consumers trying to make informed decisions about how and if they can get health coverage.
Taking a step back
As the saying goes, when you have a hammer, every problem looks like a nail. In this case, when you have a legislative majority, every problem looks like it should be solved by changing the law.
But does that have to be the case? What if Congressional Republicans were to take a back seat and let Tom Price and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) begin the process of reforming health reform?