A ‘death blow’ to Obamacare?

With Donald Trump poised to become president, and with GOP majorities in the House of Representatives and the Senate, Republicans potentially “have a death blow to the Obamacare health coverage expansion,” according to John McDonough, professor of the practice of public health at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

A complete repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) may mean that millions of Americans who gained insurance through the health reform law could lose it. “Will they [the Republicans] actually vote to take away insurance from 20 million Americans? That’s the unknown right now,” McDonough said in a November 8, 2016 Vox article.

McDonough, who helped shape the ACA while working in the Senate from 2008-10, has been quoted widely in the media on the future of the ACA during a Trump presidency. Trump promised throughout the campaign that he would completely abolish the landmark law, although since winning the election he has seemed to back away somewhat from that pledge.

McDonough told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on November 14 that it’s likely that key aspects of the health reform law—such as federal funds for Medicaid expansion and federal subsidies to help people afford coverage—will continue for a couple of years, but after that it’s likely there will be a “substantial degradation” of the ACA’s provisions. He also provided a detailed explanation of the political machinations that would be involved in repealing or reshaping Obamacare in a November 14 guest blog in Scientific American.

What if the GOP repeals Obamacare but doesn’t replace it with anything? Said McDonough in a November 9 Washington Post article, “That is the nightmare scenario.”

Read the Vox article: Trump and the GOP can absolutely repeal Obamacare—and 22 million people would lose health insurance

Read the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article: GOP expected to wind down Obamacare after Trump

Read the Scientific American guest blog: The Future of U.S. Health Reform under the Trump Administration

Read the Washington Post article: Obamacare’s future in critical condition after Trump’s victory

Learn more

The future of public health under President Trump (Harvard Chan School feature)