President-elect Donald Trump warned a GOP-led Congress Wednesday to handle Obamacare repeal with caution as enrollment surged about 5 percent in Florida and sign-ups jumped nationally as well.
“Republicans must be careful in that the Dems own the failed ObamaCare disaster, with its poor coverage and massive premium increases,” Trump tweeted.
The Senate’s top Democrat Chuck Schumer already has a slogan ready: Republicans are out to “Make America Sick Again.”
Whatever problems face the Affordable Care Act, its marketplace plans are signing up more people. In Florida, the leading state using healthcare.gov, the 1.64 million sign-ups through Dec. 31 are running about 5 percent ahead of last year around this time, according to Obama administration officials.
That includes more than 183,000 enrollments in Palm Beach County and the Treasure Coast.
Nationally, about 8.8 million people have signed up, compared to about 8.6 million last year at this time.
“With 8.8 million Americans signed up for coverage through HealthCare.gov, more than last year at this time, it is clear that Americans want and need this vital coverage,” said U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell.
Schumer says repeal without a replacement plan risks booting up to 30 million people out of coverage, counting expanded Medicaid programs and other facets of the health law.
Schumer warned of massive chaos, telling Politico “you cannot repeal a plan and put nothing in its place. It doesn’t matter if you say the repeal won’t take place for a year or two years.”
Florida and its Obamacare enrollees have the most to lose of any state in the country, $5.2 billion, if Congress pulls the plug on government subsidies that make premiums cheaper, The Palm Beach Post reported.
Splits on how to proceed have emerged within the GOP. Florida Gov. Rick Scott has warned about the dangers of “tweaking” the health law instead of immediately repealing it.
Trump campaigned on repeal and then signaled he thought parts of Obamacare were worth keeping, such as making insurers cover pre-existing conditions. On Wednesday, he appeared to warn Congress that overly hasty repeal moves risked losing the political blame game: “massive increases of ObamaCare will take place this year and Dems are to blame for the mess. It will fall of its own weight – be careful!”
Trump added: “Don’t let the Schumer clowns out of this web.”