START OF 2018 OPEN ENROLLMENT PERIOD

Time: D H M S

GOP openly admits they plan to blame consequences of their actions on Obama.

The Republican Party already has their playbook for how to repeal the Affordable Care Act, cause massive disruption and damage to the healthcare market, kick potentially up to 29 million people off their healthcare coverage and get away with it by blaming it on the law itself (and, of course, President Obama). They're so certain that their plan will work that some of them are openly admitting the jaw-dropping chutzpah of it all:

That could lead to a mess for the roughly 10 million Americans currently getting coverage through the government-run marketplaces — and backlash against the GOP.

...But the enticements most likely to keep insurers in the exchanges are the ones in Obamacare that Republicans spent years denouncing as industry “bailouts” — subsidies that were supposed to insulate plans from big losses.

...Many Republicans would prefer to argue the Obamacare markets were already in their death throes before they took charge — the question is whether they can get away with it.

“The first question I think they’re trying to figure out is, do we actually own it for 2018?” said one health care lobbyist, speaking on background. “If premiums spike and plans exit, can we still blame it on Obama and get away with it? That’s one of the threshold questions that I don’t think they’ve answered.”

Yes, the ACA does have quite a few problems, and yes, some of those problems were inherent in the actual language of the law itself. The subsidies should've been more generous. The mandate penalty should've actually been somewhat higher. The "family glitch" should've been fixed. The ESI offer should've had more stringent requirements for the minimum coverage offered. The White House probably should've weathered the "if you like your plan you can keep it" storm and refused to allow "transitional" plans back in 2013, and so on.

However, Congressional Republicans have also spent six years doing everything in their power to prevent the law from actually working...only to now be in a position of scrambling to reverse their own actions now that they might actually have to own the consequences of doing them: They filed a lawsuit trying to kill the ACA's Cost Sharing Reduction subsidies...only to now ask the courts to delay the very "victory" they were hoping for. They demanded that the Risk Corridor program be defunded (helping put over a dozen co-ops out of business and throw hundreds of thousands of people off their policies...only to now turn around and start offering to throw gobs of money at the insurers to "bail them out" after all. They mostly refused to set up their own state exchanges even though that would've given them more control over them (a nod to "states' rights" that the GOP supposedly loves)...and then attempted to kill off the subsidies on the federal exchange by claiming that only state exchanges should be allowed to provide them.

And in spite of all of that--in spite of the endless attempts at "death by a thousand cuts", the ACA is still standing. Like Rocky at the end of the first movie, it's beaten up, It's shaky and a bit unsteady, but it's still standing...and there's evidence that the ACA may, ironically, finally be over the hump, as carriers like Centene, Molina, Florida Blue and possibly even Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina are either turning a profit or appear to be on the verge of doing so. Basically, this years' 25% average unsubsidized rate hikes, as painful as they may be, may quite possibly have been the key to finally stabilizing things; things likely would have finally calmed down next year. If Hillary Clinton had won, she and the Democrats in Congress would've had a lot of work to do to improve the law, but it was absolutely doable.

And then Donald Trump bigoted and blustered his way into the White House, allowing the GOP Dog to finally catch up with the ObamaCar to repeal it. And now that they can, they're stuck because they know that the moment they actually do so, they're gonna get blamed for their actions.

There are two possible ways they could resolve this: First, they could be willing to admit that perhaps it would be better to leave the ACA mostly as is and simply agree to work with the Democrats to fix the issues and improve it. The second, which they're apparently going with, is to rip it down anyway and then try to blame the Democrats for the consequences of doing so.

In other words, expect to see a lot of "it was already collapsing under its' own weight"-style talking points going forward.

The worst part? Given the tendency of Trump voters to be clueless about reality, Ryan and the GOP may very well pull it off:

The stock market under President Obama soared. The Dow Jones Industrial average went from 7,949.09 to 19,614.91, again, up 11,665.72. In other words, it more than doubled. 39% of Trump voters think the stock market went down under Obama.

Unemployment dropped from 7.8% to 4.6% during the Obama administration. Clinton, Johnson, Stein and other voters are well aware of that fact.

But not Donald Trump voters; 67% of them believe unemployment rose under President Obama.

  • 40% of Trump voters believe that Donald Trump won the popular vote.
  • 60% of Trump voters believe that millions voted illegally for Clinton.
  • 73% of Trump voters believe that George Soros paid Trump protesters.
  • 29% of Trump voters believe California vote should not be included in the popular vote.