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Divided We Stand

Divided We Stand
New book about the 2020 election.

Friday, June 26, 2020

Trump v. Obamacare

In Defying the Odds, we discuss the health care issue in the 2016 campaign.  the 2019 update includes a chapter on the 2018 midterms.

 Sheryl Gay Stolberg at NYT:
The Trump administration asked the Supreme Court late Thursday to overturn the Affordable Care Act — a move that, if successful, would bring a permanent end to the health insurance program popularly known as Obamacare and wipe out coverage for as many as 23 million Americans.

In an 82-page brief submitted an hour before a midnight deadline, the administration joined Republican officials in Texas and 17 other states in arguing that in 2017, Congress, then controlled by Republicans, had rendered the law unconstitutional when it zeroed out the tax penalty for not buying insurance — the so-called individual mandate.

The administration’s argument, coming in the thick of an election season — as well as a pandemic that has devastated the economy and left millions of unemployed Americans without health coverage — is sure to reignite Washington’s bitter political debate over health care.
Politically, the move is barking mad.

For several years, Americans tended to oppose the ACA, but the trendlines flipped decisively when Trump came in,

The key is loss aversion. People opposed Obamacare at first because they (reasonably) suspected that it could take away what they already had.

But a decade later, Obamacare is not a threat to the status quo.  It is the status quo.  People don't want to lose it, especially since the GOP lacks a plausible plan for replacing it.

And what would be the worst possible time to press the point? During a pandemic when people are losing employer-provided insurance and facing the danger of acquiring preexisting conditions.

From CMS: "The number of consumers gaining coverage in states with Exchanges using the platform through the loss of MEC [minimum essential coverage] SEP [special enrollment period] is higher for the 2020 coverage year than for any of the prior coverage years in this report with approximately 487,000 consumers gaining coverage through the loss of MEC SEP, an increase of 46 percent from the same time period last year."