Repeal Obamacare — then what?

Lots of people running for office have promised that they will repeal Obamacare.  What would that mean?  What about the things that have already started, like coverage for adult children to age 26 or preventive care without a co-pay?  Would everything go back to the way it was?

Voting for Tomorrow

Dear Voting for Tomorrow,

You are asking a very interesting question!  The United States Supreme Court will make a ruling on the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) this summer.  Their ruling will address several things, including whether the law can stand if part of it is flawed.  In other words, if they find that the government cannot require people to have health insurance, does the rest of the health reform law also become null and void?

This will happen before Election Day, but for argument’s sake, let’s assume that some or all of the health reform law stays in place.  Candidates will keep talking about Obamacare and promising to support or repeal it.  Once elected, a legislator could submit a bill and gather votes to repeal Obamacare.  That bill would give the specifics of how and when the law would be repealed.  If it got enough votes and the law was repealed, it would stop affecting plans, insurers, and members as of the date it was repealed.

So, for example, insurers could put co-pays back onto preventive services.  They could revert to their old definition of “dependent child” and offer the young adults COBRA coverage.  Changes like these would not happen in mid-year.  They would happen at the group’s next renewal.

Everything would not necessarily go back to what it was before 2010, when health reform became law.  Insurers may find the covering young adults was very popular and probably profitable too.  The legal requirement would go away, but some things created by health reform might still remain.


Linda Riddell

About Linda Riddell

A published author and health policy analyst with 25 years’ experience, Linda Riddell's goal is to alleviate the widespread ailment of not knowing what your health plan can do for you.