If you're like me, you probably didn't watch Bill O'Reilly's interview with Trump that aired before the Super Bowl yesterday in which he implied that Obamacare isn't going anywhere anytime soon.
Trump told O'Reilly that the GOP's non-existent replacement may not materialize until next year.
Asked if Americans could expect a replacement plan in 2017, the president said, “yes, in the process and maybe it’ll take till sometime into next year but we’re certainly going to be in the process.”
He added that it’s “very complicated,” but urged Americans to remember that “Obamacare is a disaster.”
A full repeal of Obamacare has already seemingly been ruled out because the law is simply far too beneficial to all but the most batshit Republicans and their constituents, and what support there is for a full repeal of the law will only diminish with time.
Pushing back the process of repealing and replacing the law until later this year was a major blow to the process; pushing it back to next year could mean Obamacare will never be repealed or replaced.
Next year is an election year and that are early indications that Democrats will have a legit opportunity to fight for control of the House. Voting to kick tens of millions of people off their healthcare is not a vote very many politicians, even very conservatives one, are willing to make in a contested election.
Beyond the obvious politics, further delaying the process only entrenches the law and the vast systems that depend on it. Moreover, depending on the exact timeline of repeal, a bill passed in the Spring of 2018 may not be implemented until fiscal 2020 at the earliest.
Healthcare providers will begin filing their paperwork for fiscal 2018 next month under the assumption that healthcare insurance exchanges and most Obamacare regulations will remain in place for the next open enrollment period that begins in November. Providers will do the same in March of next year when they begin filing their paperwork for fiscal 2019. And so on.
The politics of kicking tens of millions of people off their healthcare are difficult, but so is the actual process of doing that. You cannot reorganize our entire healthcare system overnight.
There are significant reason why it took two years to draft and pass Obamacare and an additional four years to fully implement it. If we're lucky, and if everyone continues to fight back the way they have over the past several weeks, Trump may not even be around long enough to see Obamacare repealed.