What Would Happen to the Economy if Obamacare Were Repealed?

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What if Obamacare Were Repealed?

Health costs have been rising at an unsustainable rate for decades. Credit: U.S. government.

Health costs have been rising at an unsustainable rate for decades. Courtesy of ObamacareFacts.

The political ramifications if Obamacare were to be repealed are obvious: Not only would Republicans declare victory, but it could serve to unite the bickering factions within the party itself.

Politically speaking, the defeat of Obamacare could galvanize the party in a way that we haven’t seen in decades, even potentially leading to a presidential victory in 2016. These tangible benefits are amongst the reasons why the House has voted to defund Obamacare over forty times since its passage.

From an economic standpoint, however, the Government Accounting Office (GAO) estimates that Obamacare’s net impact over a 75 year period barely moves the dial either way. That being said, the rollout difficulties coupled with cautious business hiring and capital expenditures are short-term negatives that would disappear were Congress to repeal the law.

After a period of market disruption, the system would go back to what we had prior to Obamacare’s passage.

The real unknown is whether or not going back to what we had would be acceptable in the long term. With health care costs consuming one-sixth of the budget and rising much faster than GDP and life expectancy only slightly better than in Bahrain, our current system is not working. If Obamacare were repealed, something else would likely need to take its place lest an already-problematic health care system bankrupt the U.S. economy. In the hue and cry over the law, most pundits have lost sight of that important aspect of the debate.

As usual, the short-term thinking politicians have no answers to this question.

Resources

Brainy Quotes. Repealing Quotes. Accessed on November 17, 2013.

Schulteis, Emily. Exit polls 2012: Split on Obamacare(2012). Politico. Accessed on November 17, 2013.

Capulto, Marc. Like Obama, Obamacare starts collapsing in Gallup poll: 40% approve, 55% disapprove(2013). Miami Herald. Accessed on November 17, 2013.

Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. Beige Book — October 16, 2013Accessed on November 17, 2013.

Langreth, Robert, Roy, Avik, Whelan, David, and Herper, Matthew. Will Health Costs Bankrupt America? (2011). Forbes. Accessed on November 17, 2013.

Sauter, Michael and Stockdale, Charles. Countries That Spend the Most on Health Care (2012). (2012). 24/7 Wall Street. Accessed on November 17, 2013.

McAuliff, Michael and Siddiqui, Sabrina. Vote to Defund Obamacare Primes Vote over Shutdown(2013). Huffington Post. Accessed on November 17, 2013.

CIA. The World Factbook. Accessed on November 17, 2013.

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