Democratic governors Wednesday warned top Republicans in Congress that repealing the Obama health care law would stick states with billions of dollars in costs for providing medical care to residents made newly uninsured.
The Democratic Governors Association wrote to House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Governors estimated that states could face nearly $69 billion in costs for uncompensated care over the next 10 years if the health law is repealed. States traditionally shouldered a hefty share of such costs.
Republicans plan to repeal "Obamacare" early next year, then take up to several years to replace it. During the interlude, party leaders have promised an orderly transition to a new system. It's unclear what that would involve, but presumably some of the law's popular provisions -- such as subsidies and protection for those with pre-existing medical conditions -- would be kept in place.
The 2010 Affordable Care Act added coverage for about 20 million people through a combination of subsidized private health insurance and a state option to expand Medicaid. Several Republican states adopted the Medicaid expansion, including Indiana under Gov. Mike Pence, now vice president-elect.
Signing the letter were Govs. Dan Malloy of Connecticut, Jay Inslee of Washington, and Andrew Cuomo of New York, who dubbed the GOP's `repeal and replace' strategy "nothing more than a Washington, D.C. bait-and-switch."
Repealing the law "would be a financial and health disaster for states," the governors wrote. "Repeal would throw millions of our residents off their health coverage, shift enormous costs to state governments, blowing a hole in state budgets, and cause economic uncertainty for our states' businesses, hospitals, and patients.''