Readers appear closely divided in opinion about the current Republican Party effort in Congress to make good on years of promises to “repeal Obamacare” and replace the Affordable Care Act with an alternative, more effective system. A slight minority (47 percent) noted general support for current efforts, while an exact half of poll respondents urged Republicans to go back to the drawing board or leave the current system in place.
While tinkering a bit with the individual markets for health insurance, both Senate (still under discussion) and House (passed) versions of health-care reform rely heavily on roll back of the Affordable Care Act’s optional expansion of Medicaid, which has resulted in new coverage for millions in states around the nation since the ACA’s passage more than seven years ago. It’s that change, necessary to offset tax reductions for top-tier earners also included in the bills, that resulted in most of the insurance losses estimated in the Congressional Budget Office’s “scores” for the bills.Current insureds who would no longer be covered by health insurance after passage, CBO estimated for each variant of House and Senate bills, numbered in the low 10s of millions.
Readers were generally guarded in commentary on their support for the plans, an indication perhaps of the complexity of the issue. While Andy Soucy expressed no support for “anything that forces the American people to buy anything, especially insurance.” Employing a variety of mechanisms — market-based penalties for going without coverage for a certain amount of time, for instance, in the House bill — both versions of insurance reform employ sticks to encourage health coverage.
Hal Kiah urged Congress to take the time to get it right. “So long as the program is fully scrutinized to make sure that it takes care of everyone, fairly, and does not break the bank on people … good,” even “if it has to go back and forth until it is ensured that everyone has affordable health insurance, and premiums drop drastically from what they are now.”