Obamacare Repeal: What May Replace It
Changes are coming to the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.
President Donald Trump has taken the first steps toward repealing the law. On his first day in office, he passed an executive order directing the Health and Human Services secretary and heads of other federal agencies to use their authority to relieve Americans, businesses, state governments, and others “of any provision or requirement of the Act that would impose a fiscal burden.”
Exactly what will happen is not yet clear. Some Republican lawmakers have come up with different plans, but they have not yet agreed on one specific proposal.
Republicans in Congress have been trying to repeal the law, which has made health insurance available to roughly 22 million Americans through government-run Marketplaces, expanded Medicaid coverage, and allowing adult children to stay on their parents' health plans.
But with rising premiums and dwindling options, there will be much discussion about health care reform and plans to fix what many see as a broken system made worse under Obamacare.
As they work out the details, Republican leaders have outlined broad policy ideas that may be part of a plan to replace the current law.
Here are some of the terms you are likely to hear as the effort to repeal and replace Obamacare moves forward, along with pros and cons of each.
Before the Affordable Care Act became law, insurance companies were allowed to deny people coverage because of a pre-existing medical condition. In the past, those people may have turned to state-based high-risk pools, which provided health insurance to people with medical conditions such as cancer, heart failure, and kidney disease who were unable to find coverage anywhere else.
High-risk insurance pools were active in 35 states for decades before Obamacare became law. The federal government also operated a high-risk pool for a period before the law’s changes took effect.
Pros: Just 10% of the population accounts for nearly two-thirds of health care spending. Separating people with expensive medical care needs from the broader insurance pool is likely to lower health plan premiums overall, says Linda Blumberg, senior fellow with the Urban Institute.