Obama: ACA repeal and delay is 'reckless' and 'irresponsible'

Dive Brief:

  • Republican plans to repeal the ACA without a replacement would “jeopardize financial security and access to care for tens of millions of Americans,” President Barack Obama wrote for the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) on Friday.

  • Regarding a potential Republican replacement plan, Obama said, “If it works, I’m for it,” in an interview with Vox on Friday.

  • An ACA repeal with delayed replacement coverage would leave the country's healthcare system "standing on the edge of a cliff" as it may discourage marketplace participation, hinder investments in care coordination from physician practices, lead to increased prices to consumers and job cuts, among other reasons, according to President Obama.

Dive Insight:

Obama is joining the choir of critics attacking Republican plans to repeal the ACA without a replacement plan in place, calling this strategy “reckless” and “irresponsible.” He acknowledged during the interview that his signature healthcare law could be improved in some ways, such as providing more subsidies. Yet during his interview with Vox, he questioned why Republicans were in a rush to dismantle the ACA. "Theres no real explanation of why you would try to do this before the next president is inaugurated," he said.  

He also reminded NEJM readers that many provisions of the ACA, including the individual mandate, were originally ideas supported by Republicans. Obama pointed to state health reform signed into law by former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

“I was initially against this Republican idea, but we learned from Massachusetts that individual responsibility, alongside financial assistance, is the only proven way to provide affordable, private, individual insurance to every American,” Obama wrote.

The "repeal and delay" strategy gained traction after it was introduced in early December. However, numerous industry organizations have come out against the plan since then. Now, some Republicans legislators seem to be shying away from the plan.

Obama’s plans for life after the White House may have shifted when President-elect Donald Trump won the election rather than Hillary Clinton, USA Today reported. It is possible that the soon-to-be former president takes on a prominent role in the upcoming legislative battle over the future of healthcare.

Filed Under: Health Law