The GOP is preparing to repeal portions of the law funding Obamacare as early as January 3rd, but do not have a plan in place to replace it. Experts are warning that a January move to eliminate funding for subsidies and cost-sharing will leave consumers unable to purchase plans, drive up insurance costs and chase carriers from the marketplace. These impacts will be portrayed by Republicans as “proving” Obamacare was a failure, and set the stage for whatever replacement they land on. It’s a politically precarious move based on a cynical plan to deceive the public about the source of the chaos it will create.
Meanwhile, Republicans are expected to propose vouchers for Medicare and major cuts to Medicaid. One expert suggests Democrats not get so distracted by the Medicare fight that they allow the much more likely dismantling of Medicaid to proceed:
“If Democrats focus too much of their attention on Medicare, they may inadvertently assist the quieter war on Medicaid — one that could deny health benefits to millions of children, seniors, working families and people with disabilities,” Sperling wrote.
While these fights will take place at the national level, there are major implications for Ohio, including how state lawmakers will deal with changes to Medicaid funding, which is primarily paid for by the federal government. Without funding, the over 600,000 Ohioans who currently access healthcare thanks to Medicaid Expansion are at risk of losing coverage, and rural hospitals in the state may be forced to close.