One year after promising to ready an Obamacare replacement, Abbott has nothing to show for it

by | Nov 22, 2019 | Health Care, Policy

Last December, a federal judge in Texas declared the Affordable Care Act unconstitutional. That was music to Gov. Greg Abbott’s ears; he has fought tooth and nail against it for years, despite the law’s overwhelming success in forcing insurance companies to cover pre-existing medical conditions, like cancer and diabetes. 

Even the conservative base in Texas supports protecting pre-existing conditions. 

Abbott claimed almost a year ago that he would have a replacement plan on hand should Obamacare ultimately get struck down by the courts.

But that hasn’t happened. There are no press releases, no other tweets, no other interviews that suggest the governor has been working on what he promised. 

Meanwhile, the state remains the home to the highest number of uninsured in the nation, costs remains through the roof, and prescription medication is unaffordable. 

Should the U.S. Supreme Court light the Obamacare ablaze by ruling it unconstitutional— a decision is expected next year, the smoldering hole left in American health care would spell chaos for 11 million Americans, including the one million Texans currently enrolled in the Obamacare marketplace.

“The marketplaces would just simply disappear and millions of people would become uninsured overnight,” Sabrina Corlette, a leading health policy expert at Georgetown University told NPR last month of the possibility of the Supreme Court dismantling the ACA. 

The move, she said, would also leave hospitals and doctors with millions of dollars in unpaid medical bills and any state expansion of Medicaid under the ACA would disappear too (Texas doesn’t have to worry about that last one since Abbott didn’t bother expanding Medicaid). 

At this point, it’s common knowledge that Republicans in Congress have been completely unsuccessful in repealing and replacing Obamacare. They’ve had three years under Trump — two of which they controlled the entire federal government — to pass a bill. 

It’s also common knowledge that Texas Republicans haven’t undertaken any sweeping reforms the two decades they’ve controlled state government. 

Abbott has pledged that under his elusive plan that Texans would not be denied coverage for having pre-existing conditions. The promise is hollow. Under Abbott’s leadership last legislative session, five separate bills to do exactly that all failed to pass. 

Obamacare is still the law of the land. Enrollment in the Obamacare marketplace at ends Dec. 15. 

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