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Can Trump Repeal Obamacare

A Picture of Adam Weisshouse Adam Weisshouse
11/09/2016

One of the big questions remaining after the Presidential Election on November 8th is what will happen to Obamacare. The 2017 Open Enrollment Period was kicked off on November 1st and many are wondering, after hearing the results of the election, whether they should still bother getting health insurance if Trump intends on repealing and replacing Obamacare once he reaches office.

There are a few scenarios to discuss with this issue.

First Scenario: Any repeal and replacement of Obamacare could not happen until summer 2017, if not later.

Trump ran on a platform that he would repeal and replace Obamacare as soon as he got into office, but that is not possible to do on Day 1. Trump will be sworn into office on January 20, 2017. The 2017 open enrollment period will end 11 days later on January 31st. Presuming Trump sits down at the oval office and begins on his new replacement plan, it would probably be at least 90 days, if not longer, before that law was written and approved and then he would need to go to Congress and try to get enough votes, which includes votes from Democrats, in order to repeal Obamacare entirely. The Republican party gained a lot during the 2016 election, but the one thing they did not gain was a Supermajority, meaning that the Democratic vote still counts and could block any repeal of Obamacare. The process of putting a vote to Congress is not a quick one particularly when dealing with schedules and agendas (it took Obamacare over six months get signed into law from the day it was first sent to Congress) so Americans who are thinking about waiting for Trumpcare to take affect, may have to wait longer than expected. If they decided not get insurance during the 2017 open enrollment period because they were waiting for Trumpcare to become law, they are risking a lot being uninsured for so long.

Second Scenario: Trump does not have a Supermajority to repeal Obamacare completely

Despite running on a platform that priority number 1, during his first 100 days in office would be to repeal and replace Obamacare, Trump simply does not have the votes to get this done. If Republicans had won more seats during the 2016 Election to gain 60% of the seats in the Senate, they would have had what is called a Supermajority, which means they would have enough votes to pass whatever they wanted, which includes an Obamacare repeal. Unfortunately for Trump, Democrats who are still very protective of Obamacare and the perks and protections its offers Americans, such as a ban on pre-existing conditions, financial subsidies for lower income families, and a ban on annual and lifetime payout limits by insurance carriers, can block any outright repeal vote. This means that Trump may have to hope for a miracle or he’ll need to find another way.

Third Scenario: Trump could use his power as President to make changes to the current law

Trump could propose changes to the law using executive orders or get health laws sitting in Congress right now passed that could modify the law. This is his best shot at changing the law for the next open enrollment period.

One thing is for sure though – if families want to be protected from unexpected medical bills, they must enroll in a health insurance plan during the 2017 open enrollment period, which started on November 1st and ends on January 31, 2017. If you want your plan to go into effect on January 1st, you must enroll by December 15th.

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