Get ready for GOP battle over Obamacare

The new Republican majority in Congress next year is likely to use several strategies to try to derail the Affordable Care Act (ACA). One will focus on the unpopular mandate that requires individuals to have health insurance or face fines; the other is to use what political scientists call “issue coupling” – “taking two unrelated issues and opportunistically linking them so that the whole might be greater than the sum of the parts” – to divide ACA supporters, according to John McDonough, professor of the practice of public health at Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH).

McDonough, author of “Inside National Health Reform,” wrote his views on the GOP strategy in an opinion piece published December 2, 2014 in CommonWealth Magazine.

Among issues he expects to be central to the GOP case is the Sustainable Growth Rate, which he described as “a poisonous formula governing Medicare payments to physicians.”

Another is the individual mandate, a central point of the ACA. “To ACA supporters, individual mandate repeal would be close to a mortal blow, potentially more devastating than a U.S. Supreme Court ruling invalidating premium subsidies to states with federally-run health insurance exchanges (as the Court will consider early next year). Without the mandate, too many younger and healthier Americans would drop health insurance coverage and wait until they believe they will need it before purchase,” McDonough said.

Read the article: How the new Congress will try to undermine the ACA

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The U.S. Healthcare Law Rollout Where Do We Stand? (The Forum at HSPH)