START OF 2018 OPEN ENROLLMENT PERIOD

Time: D H M S

GOP: "Can we still blame it on Obama & get away with it?" America: "No."

December 9, 2016:

...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.”

March 24, 2017:

...Trump said he would not put the bill on the floor in the coming weeks. Instead, he is willing to wait and watch the current law continue and, in his view, encounter problems. And he believes Democrats will eventually want to work with him on some kind of legislative fix to Obamacare, although he did not say when that would be.

“As you know, I’ve been saying for years that the best thing is to let Obamacare explode and then go make a deal with the Democrats and have one unified deal. And they will come to us, we won’t have to come to them,” he said. “After Obamacare explodes.”

“The beauty,” Trump continued, “is that they own Obamacare. So when it explodes they come to us and we make one beautiful deal for the people.”

My question for the president: Are you really willing to wait to re-engage on health care until the Democrats come and ask for your help?

...“Hey, we could have done this,” he said. “But we couldn’t get one Democrat vote, not one. So that means they own Obamacare and when that explodes, they will come to us wanting to save whatever is left and we’ll make a real deal.”

...“You’re right,” he said. “I’m a team player but I’ve also said the best thing politically is to let Obamacare explode.”

...As he waits for Democrats, I asked, what’s next on health care, if anything, policy-wise?

“Time will tell. Obamacare is in for some rough days. You understand that. It’s in for some rough, rough days,” Trump said.

He added, “I’ll fix it as it explodes.

..So, you have a combination of all of the above, tremendous uncertainty and a ticking clock, and an administration which has already openly stated that they intend on sabotaging the law as much as possible.

If you're an insurance carrier CEO or board member, then assuming the individual market isn't a major part of your business...how likely are you to stick around next year regardless of whether the AHCA passes or not?

Kaiser Family Foundation, April 4, 2017:

With the future of any other replacement plans uncertain, this month’s survey also gauges who the public views as responsible for the 2010 health care law going forward. A majority (61 percent) of the public say that because President Trump and Republicans in Congress are in control of the government, they are now responsible for any problems with the ACA moving forward. About three in ten Americans (31 percent) say that because President Obama and Democrats in Congress passed the law, they are responsible for any problems with it.

The irony here is that even as a supporter of the ACA (and a progressive Democrat), I do recognize that some of the problems with the law were caused by errors/poor judgment on the part of President Obama and Congressional Democrats. The "transitional plan" decision (in response to the "You Can Keep It" backlash), for instance. The APTC/CSR subsidy funding being too weak in the first place. Sloppy legal wording which exposed themselves to lawsuits like King v. Burwell and House v. Burwell (now House v. Price), and so on.

HOWEVER, as I've noted many times, a) every major piece of legislation will have problems which need to be worked out down the line (and usually are); b) those problems are fixable; and most importantly, c) with complete control over the Executive and Legislative branches of the federal government, the GOP is now the steward of the law and has a responsibility to make it work as well as possible, just like every other law on the books.

 Saying "you broke it, you bought it" is a little disingenuous since some of the issues weren't the GOP's doing...but they wanted total control and now they have it. The ball is in their court now.

This is bourne out by the rest of the KFF's survey responses:

Despite the divided views towards the law, three-fourths of the public think President Trump and his administration should do what they can to make the current health care law work while one-fifth (19 percent) of Americans say President Trump and his administration should do what they can to make the ACA fail so they can replace it later.

Seventy-five percent. And while you'd obviously expect Democrats to agree with this, check out the breakdown:

The vast majority of Democrats (89 percent), eight in ten independents (78 percent), and half of Republicans (51 percent) say President Trump and his administration should do what they can to make the law work. There are divides among Republicans, with a majority of moderate and liberal Republicans (60 percent) saying the administration should do what they can to make the law work, compared to 45 percent of conservative Republicans.

Ah, but Trump is a special case, right? Can't lump his base in with the GOP as a whole, right? Surely they can't stand the ACA, since he promised over and over again to repeal it immediately??

Among Trump supporters, 54 percent think President Trump’s administration should do what they can to make the current health care law work while a smaller share (37 percent) say they should do what they can to make the law fail.

Oh. Never mind.

One final point: I am a bit bothered by the results from Democrats on the final KFF survey question:

About half of the public (49 percent) say President Trump and Republicans should stop working on health care and move on to other priorities while 45 percent of the public want them to keep working on a plan to repeal and replace the 2010 health care law. Partisanship underlies these views, with 75 percent of Republicans wanting President Trump and Republicans in Congress to keep working on a replacement plan, 70 percent of Democrats wanting them to move on to other priorities, and independents divided (48 percent wanting them to move on and 48 percent wanting them to keep working on a replacement plan).

Again, this depends on your perspective. If those Democrats (and half of the indpendents) mean "stop trying to damage/repeal the ACA", then obviously I agree. If they mean "leave the ACA alone exactly as it is and all will be well!", then I absolutely don't. Again, there are real problems with how the law is playing out in practice, especially in certain states such as Tennessee, Arizona and Oklahoma, which need to be addressed. Pretending this isn't the case is just as irresponsible as pretending the ACA is a complete disaster and should be torn down entirely.

Oh, one more thing: The Kaiser survey still has support for the ACA dead even with opposition (46% apiece), which is better than it's typically polled but actually down slightly from last month. Gallup, however, has a far more dramatic change here:

Yup. The GOP has a serious problem on their hands here.