Obamacare Repeal May Send Consumers Looking for Alternative Solutions

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On Feb. 2, 2011, the United States Senate sent a signal that the Affordable Healthcare Act, also known as Obamacare, is in serious trouble. A majority of 115 Democrat and Republican senators killed the unpopular 1099 reporting requirement in the original legislation. - Commentary by MDC

"On Feb. 2, 2011, the United States Senate sent a signal that the Affordable Healthcare Act, also known as Obamacare, is in serious trouble," says Jeremy Duboys of MDC. A majority of 115 Democrat and Republican senators killed the unpopular 1099 reporting requirement in the original legislation. The measure, a first indication that Obamacare may be repealed, is likely to be followed up with full repeal, if Republicans win big during the 2012 elections. Experts watching the dismantling of the healthcare mandate point out troubling implications for consumers.

The 1099 provision required all business to report annual total purchases of more than $600 from any contractor to the IRS. The intent of the provision was to collect new taxes from 40 million businesses and other organizations. The reporting requirement would have collected an estimated $17 billion in previously unreported taxes according to supporters. The requirement was to have been a key source of funding for Obamacare. Critics complained that the reporting requirement was a costly bookkeeping burden and would serve only to stifle trade. Under tremendous public pressure the senate caved and removed the provision.

Insurers, hospitals, physicians and the health-care industry are cautiously watching the situation and delaying the implementation of a response to Obamacare, lest efforts to comply with the new mandate be wasted in the event the measure is repealed. Consumers in the meantime are left looking for alternatives to the promised health-care mandate.

Insurance companies like UnitedHealth Group (UNH) and Wellpoint Inc. (WLP) and other health-care providers are scrambling to find more effective ways to pool hard-to-insure patients and expand coverage without disrupting the system for those it currently serves well. Discount bundlers like Medication Discount Card help consumers reduce prescription costs through free prescription discount plans. Low-cost, cash-only clinics manned by nurse practitioners and physicians assistants provide lower cost doctor visits and services. Corporate retailers like Wal-Mart offer reduced prices for generic medications for a wide range of illnesses. Many physicians even prescribe from this list if you ask them to.

A recent Quinnipiac University poll indicated that, although 54 percent of voters believe the economy is beginning to recover, 48 percent want Obamacare repealed. Only 43 percent of responders want to keep it. More than 54 percent of independent voters, the critical swing vote Democrats need to retain control of the administration and senate, want Obamacare taken off the books as well. A CNN survey shows that 50 percent favor repeal and 42 percent oppose it. Among likely voters, a recent Rasmussen poll found that that 55 percent favor repeal, while only 40 percent oppose.

According to MDC the strategy in the Republican dominated House of Representatives appears to be to attacking Obamacare piece by piece in order to make it impossible to implement. Should the senate or the presidency fall to the Republicans in 2012, the repeal of Obamacare is almost a certainty. If it is repealed, consumers will be forced to pay more attention to their health-care needs, watch prices and in many cases drop expensive insurance coverages they don't really need.

Healthcare and prescription discounters, low cost cash clinics and cafeteria insurance plans will almost certainly play a bigger role in meeting consumer health-care demands if Obamacare is repealed.

References:

Rio Grande Foundation: If Obamacare is Repealed, What Then?
riograndefoundation.org/downloads/rgf_obamacare_repeal.pdf

TPM: Repealing ObamaCare Would Be Disastrous For the Budget
tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/10/chart-of-the-day-repealing-obamacare-would-be-disastrous-for-the-budget.php

Unconfused: What Happens If Republicans Repeal 'Obama Care'?
unconfused.net/2011/01/what-happens-if-republicans-repeal.html

American Thinker: If Obamacare Is Repealed, What Then?
americanthinker.com/2010/10/if_obamacare_is_repealed_what.html

Wall Street Journal: ObamaCare's Repeal Has Begun
online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703652104576122520508633078.html

Washington Post: Right Turn – ObamaCare Repeal Vote
voices.washingtonpost.com/right-turn/2011/01/obamacare_repeal_vote.html

Quinnipiac University: Quinnipiac University Poll Finds; Almost Half Want Health Care Repeal
quinnipiac.edu/institutes-and-centers/polling-institute/search-releases/search-results/release-detail?ReleaseID=1549&What=&strArea=;&strTime=0

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Jeremy Duboys
MDC
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