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What will health care look like in 2018?

Heading into the new year, who knows where we’re going with health care?

President Trump says the repeal of the individual mandate effectively ends Obamacare.

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Enrollment numbers say otherwise.

“When this was before the Supreme Court in 2012, everybody said, oh yeah, if you don’t have the individual mandate the whole thing falls apart,” Kaiser Health News Chief Washington correspondent Julie Rovner said. “In the ensuing five years, I think a lot of analysts have discovered that probably the subsidies that help people afford their premiums are more important than the requirement that people have insurance. And now there’s thought that only will it not kill it, it won’t have that much impact.

“Also important to remember, it doesn’t take effect until 2019. So the mandate is still in effect for next year.”

But wasn’t the idea of the individual mandate to force young people into the market, thus putting money into it which would help pay for people who needed it more? If the healthy people aren’t buying into it, how does it survive?

“Well, the problem is that young healthy people, by and large, haven’t bought health insurance because it turns out the mandate wasn’t really strong enough. The penalties weren’t really that large … We’ve already ended up, at least in the individual market … that group of people is older and sicker than insurers had hoped. So what they’ve ended up doing is they’ve raised premiums.”

Do you believe the president when he says that he has effectively killed Obamacare; the two sides can work together on a bipartisan solution?

“It’s hard to see that. This may come back to haunt Republicans because they’ve now repealed pretty much the only part of the Affordable Care Act that was really unpopular. Nobody liked the mandate from the beginning. Now that it’s gone, Republicans are going to be hard-pressed to do anything else because everything else is very popular.”

Listen to the entire conversation here.

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