For the GOP, the problem with repealing ACA is not practical, legislative, or financial.
Humans are hard-wired to hate losing stuff, a principle known as loss aversion. We humans strongly prefer avoiding losses to acquiring gains: We get much more upset if we lose a five dollar bill than happy if we find $5.
With over 20 million more Americans insured now due to ACA and record enrollment going on now, there are millions of voters who will be enormously upset if they lose their health insurance.
The five states with the most people enrolling for coverage on Healthcare.gov through Monday were ones Trump won: Florida – 1.3 million plan selections, Texas (776,000), North Carolina (369,000), Georgia (352,000) and Pennsylvania (291,000). (thanks to NYT).
The GOP has boxed itself in, and has an impossible task ahead – how to
- appease deficit hawks when repealing ACA will raise the national debt
- deliver on its campaign promise to “rip out Obamacare (ACA) root and branch”
- while delivering lower cost health insurance
Not surprisingly, many Trump backers who gained health insurance under ACA are now scared he’s going to deliver on his promise to kill ACA. And not nervous scared – really, really scared.
This adds a whole new dimension to loss aversion – this isn’t a five dollar bill, this is a new liver, diabetes medications, knee replacement surgery.
There’s no way any ACA “replacement” that doesn’t require coverage of pre-existing conditions, have significant subsidies for the poor and near-poor, and mandate insurance is going to prevent these people from losing coverage. Oh, and do that while reducing medical costs and not increasing the national debt.
That’s why the GOP isn’t going to repeal ACA.
For a very thorough discussion of just how many – and who – stand to lose coverage if the GOP does repeal ACA, there’s no better source than Charles Gaba.