Trump and Carson eager for change

When asked about repealing ObamaCare (the Affordable Care Act or ACA), Donald Trump is quoted as saying “We will do it, and we will do it very, very quickly. It’s a catastrophe.” Politico, speaking with Ben Carson, asked his thoughts on a new, improved system. “I think the replacement obviously must come first and it must be something that is very appealing and easy to understand. And then, only then, would you dismantle what’s in place.” When asked if he would like to be a part of the effort to redesign the ACA, he replied, “Yes, of course.”

Open Enrollment

Ironically, the questions come at a time when millions of US families are selecting their insurance plans for 2017 during Open Enrollment (which is effective until January 31, 2017).

The insurance premiums in most American states have increased, and some very dramatically. Arizona, for instance, will experience an increase of 117% in monthly premiums and many plans have doubled or tripled the up-front deductible. "Obamacare is a disaster. You know it. We all know it," NPR reports Trump as saying at the final presidential debate last month. "We have to repeal it and replace it with something absolutely much less expensive."

What can be done

If Trump can’t repeal the ACA due to democratic opposition in congress, he can still directly make and approve legal “rules” that can give him the ability to change ObamaCare as he sees fit. He can also get creative and kill it by refusing to approve funding for it at the federal budget level, halting the program in its’ tracks.

Part of Trump’s new plan is to have a hybrid insurance system driven by individual tax breaks, with no requirement to buy insurance coverage. Another piece involves tax-exempt HSA’s (Health Savings Accounts), and Trump is betting that he can combine the two and finesse a new, revitalized healthcare system out of the existing ACA.

Unprecedented unwind

The Washington Post reports today that the Senior Vice President of the Kaiser Family Foundation, Larry Levitt, when asked how he felt about ObamaCare, said “The ACA as we know it would seem to be toast....The difficulty for them [Trump and Carson] comes now in trying to come to some consensus about how to unwind it and what to replace it with.…I don’t think there has been a reversal of any public benefit that would be as large as this.”

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