A Republican plan to vote on Affordable Care Act repeal in 2017, but to delay the effective repeal date for up to three years, is gaining support, according to Politico.
Critics, such as Jonathan Cohn and Jeffrey Young at the Huffington Post, are chastising Republicans for holding the healthcare system and patients hostage while working on a replacement plan.
- Robert Laszewski, an ACA opponent and president of Health Policy and Strategy Associates, told Vox the plan would create a fiasco on the individual market.
As the repeal-and-delay plan gains traction among Republicans, it is drawing some sharp criticism. Laszewski called Republicans “awfully naive” for supporting the plan while Cohn and Young called it a “slow motion disaster.” The idea is that insurers, who have been shaky on the ACA market (one of the big stories of 2016 was major insurers exiting the markets), could throw their hands up in the air and begin a mass exodus from a market that may not exist in three years. This could put millions of Americans in a bit of a bind not knowing if and where they could afford health insurance when the replacement comes and what that could be.
The GOP plan is intended to reassure payers and patients that drastic upheaval is not imminent. However, it is unlikely to work, according to Laszewski. Many insurers have already taken losses on the exchanges and have only stayed on in hopes that certain issues would be fixed.
A repeal-and-delay strategy also presents other risks for Republicans, according to Politico. While there is enthusiasm for an appeal vote, it will be a lot harder to craft a replacement plan that will have enough support to pass.
Peter Sullivan from The Hill reported late Thursday afternoon Republicans are in talks with payers to "prevent a collapse of the insurance market once they pass an Obamacare repeal bill." Seemingly, the GOP recognizes a repeal-and-delay plan could implode a somewhat-unstable market. The GOP is in the curious position, Sullivan noted, where the party doesn't want to seem like they are providing payers with a bailout, something the party was adamantly against during the Obama administration, but also don't wnt to look responsible for a market collapse.
Sullivan reported talks are in the early stages with no concrete policy details have been firmed up.