Health & Spirit

7 things you need to know about the future of Obamacare

Noam N. Levey, Tribune Washington Bureau on

Published in Health & Fitness

WASHINGTON -- You've seen the headlines and you've heard the slogans: Obamacare is on the chopping block and President-elect Donald Trump is going to replace it with "something terrific."

But what are the new president and Congress really going to do? How much of the current law will really go away? And what could "Trumpcare" look like?

In case it's been a while since you read about the Affordable Care Act and the GOP replacement plans, here's a refresher on the biggest Obamacare issues.

Insurance mandates

The current law: This one has been hard to miss. Obamacare, for the first time, required Americans to have health insurance or pay a tax penalty.

What's at issue: Nobody likes being told what to do.

The penalty is supposed to discourage people from waiting until they are sick to get health insurance. This keeps premiums in check by helping insurers get a good mix of sick and healthy consumers.

But this is the most unpopular part of Obamacare.

What could change: The mandate is almost certainly on the way out. Republicans have made it the top target in their repeal plans.

Less clear is what the GOP will put in place. Even Republican lawmakers acknowledge that insurance markets will not work unless there is some penalty for not signing up for coverage.


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