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Sarah Kliff loves Obamacare. Despite being a journalist for the Washington Post and now Vox, Kliff boosted the program harder than anyone not on the DNC payroll. For years she pushed headlines assuring voters that the ACA was on the brink of success:
- “Don’t believe the hype: Health insurers think Obamacare is going to be fine.“
- “How Obamacare could save Detroit.”
- “We’re in a health jobs slump. And it might be good news!“
Alas, the longer we live with the Byzantine legislation, the harder it is to cheerlead for it. Since November, Kliff has abandoned her PR duties, unable to spin the increasingly dire news:
In the past week, the number of counties with zero health plans signed up to sell Obamacare has doubled. There are now 38,000 Obamacare enrollees scattered across 47 counties where no insurers want to participate in the marketplaces.
In these places, Obamacare’s coverage expansion could vanish regardless of whether Congress passes a repeal bill. People with Obamacare subsidies would still technically get that help, but would have no place to actually buy coverage.
Anthem announced last week that it would exit the Ohio marketplace, leaving 20 counties and 15,000 Obamacare enrollees with no 2018 option.
Anthem has been lukewarm on the 2018 marketplaces. Reports earlier this spring from analysts who follow the company said it was “leaning towards exiting.” But Anthem has decided to stick with a few marketplaces. An Anthem exit in the rest of the states where it currently sells would be devastating to the law, leaving 300,000 Obamacare enrollees without coverage.
When Blue Cross Blue Shield Kansas City quit on May 24, it blamed the “uncertain direction of this market.”
That last sentence indicates where the blame lies to Kliff and other Obamacare dead-enders. ACA’s predicted failure isn’t due to the thousands of pages of unread legislation, the sleazy backroom haggling, government ineptitude, or the hubris of a former president thinking DC could commandeer one-fifth of the US economy.
No, Obamacare is only failing because of Donald Trump and those mean old Republicans.
The possibility that Republicans will repeal Obamacare or drive it into collapse is an increasingly real one. That’s a reality where millions fewer have health insurance and lower-income Americans struggle to afford coverage.
“Slowly but surely, I think we’re gonna get there,” Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), the No. 2 Republican, told reporters on Thursday, regarding Obamacare repeal. “We’re coming together.”
Behind closed doors, Senate Republicans have worked out a path toward Obamacare repeal. The plans under discussion would end Medicaid expansion, causing millions of low-income Americans to lose health coverage. They may allow health insurance plans to charge higher premiums to people with preexisting conditions, too.
…Under the Trump administration, it has become increasingly difficult for health plans to make the decision to participate on a marketplace that the president says is “exploding.” Who wants to build a business around a law that the White House is actively trying to tear down?
Not one Republican voted for Obamacare. A Democratic Congress passed and a Democratic president signed the legislation over the loud objections of the GOP. Conservative activists and legal groups fought tooth and nail to prevent its roll-out, and when that failed, they repeatedly warned it was doomed to failure.
Yet Kliff and her fellow press flacks spent years mocking the doomsayers and insisting Obamacare would be a rousing success.
They don’t get to blame a Republican Congress or White House for this disaster. It’s all on them.