Forty-Three Days Until a Real Game Change

I and many others have noted that once elements of the Affordable Care Act become effective (mostly on January 1), the GOP’s “you can keep your insurance” rap becomes more than a bit complicated, and the drive to repeal, dismantle or significantly delay Obamacare will have to come to grips with real, live victims.

Today at TAP, Paul Waldman nicely covers the specifics of what will happen just 43 days from now:

Millions of people will begin getting coverage through Medicaid. Repeal would mean kicking these people off their insurance.

* Millions of people will begin getting subsidies to pay for private insurance. Repeal would mean taking away their subsidies, making it unaffordable for them to get insurance.

Denials for pre-existing conditions will be officially over. Repeal would mean that once again, insurers could deny people coverage if they’ve ever been sick.

* Annual limits on coverage will be outlawed. Repeal would mean that people will once again start being forced to pay huge medical bills, in many cases forcing them into bankruptcy, if they have a serious illness or accident.

I don’t know, short of saying nasty things about my comrades in the political commentariat, why these developments and the people they affect haven’t been mentioned more often amidst all the talk about people who already have insurance being forced to change it. But on January 1 they become real and impossible to ignore.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.