How the GOP fixed the worst of ObamaCare
In 2010, the backlash to the Affordable Care Act helped give Republicans the largest midterm election gains in 72 years. The catastrophic launch of the ACA’s exchanges in 2014 handed them control of the Senate, and with premiums soaring 105 percent during the reform’s first three years of operation, outrage over health care contributed to the election of President Trump. Yet, while GOP attempts to enact equally-sweeping legislation to “repeal and replace” the ACA have failed, Republicans nonetheless can claim credit for freeing Americans from its most painful, counter-productive and unpopular features.
Although ACA plans offer an important safety net for individuals with pre-existing conditions, they represent appallingly bad value for those who wish to purchase insurance before they get sick. Whereas working-age Americans incur annual median health care costs of $709, ACA plans have annual average premiums of $4,700 and deductibles typically over $3,900.
By repealing the individual mandate tax on individuals who failed to purchase ACA-compliant plans, Congress made it possible for Americans to seek more affordable alternatives. Executive action by the Trump administration then expanded consumer protections for short-term insurance, to make available plans similar to those that were popular prior to the Obama administration.