President Donald Trump has pledged “insurance for everybody” that is “much less expensive and much better.” So far, Republican leaders, who have sworn to repeal Obamacare, do not appear to be advancing the new President’s policy goal.
On January 17th, the Congressional Budget Office published their projections for what would happen if Congress repeals portions of the Affordable Care Act. Their prediction is not rosy. According to the summary of the report, repealing portions of Obamacare would increase the ranks of the uninsured by 18 million in the first year. By 2026, the number could hit 32 million if Medicaid expansion in some states is wiped away. Meanwhile, premiums could double by 2026, according to the CBO. A study by the American Medical Association found that, predictably, the people most likely to lose coverage if Republicans repeal Obamacare are minorities, the poor, the unemployed, and those with lower educational attainment.
CNBC spoke with financial planners and health industry experts on what to do if you rely on Obamacare.
Their advice seems to be to sign up for Obamacare anyway. “As the market starts to behave in funny ways and insurers start leaving, you might find that your coverage is disrupted,” said Karen Pollitz, a senior fellow at the Kaiser Family Foundation, told CNBC. “The safest thing is to sign up and see what happens.”
They also suggest that people use their insurance before they lose it.
“If you haven’t completed your wellness visits yet, it’s time to get off the sidelines,” CNBC notes. “It’s a good practice to leverage your deductibles so that you can address any developing problems and get closer to your annual out-of-pocket spending maximums. That way, if health issues do arise, your plan will generally cover 100 percent of your costs.”
“If you’re worried about your subsidies, don’t put off health problems that need to be resolved,” a financial planner told the site.
Many experts, on the right and the left, have criticized Republicans’ strategy. “What they are planning to do is absolutely insane,” Michael Cannon, a representative of the libertarian Cato Institute, told Talking Points Memo about how Republican lawmakers are going about repealing the Affordable Care Act.