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Professor Robert Field Discusses New Push to Repeal Obamacare on WHYY’s Radio Times

Professor Robert Field

July 13, 2017

As Senate Republicans prepared to unveil the newest proposals for replacing the Affordable Care Act on July 13, Professor Robert Field said during an appearance on WHYY’s Radio Times that the stakes are high for the GOP.

“They’ve really set themselves up in a high stakes game here,” Field said. “They’ve put a lot on repealing Obamacare and coming up with their own plan. If they fail at this, it’s going to make them look very ineffectual.”

In the 1990s, Field noted, President Clinton set himself up to fail by pledging to achieve a drastic health overhaul that he was not able to deliver.

“Republicans used that against him in the 1994 elections,” Field observed. “The Republicans seem to be falling into the same trap. Unless they can figure out that magic middle ground, they are going to look very bad to their base and to other voters.”

Measures that some GOP senators support would allow insurance companies to sell inexpensive, bare bones policies that have the potential to destabilize the insurance market, Field said.

“The risk pool for those more expensive policies would be adverse to claims experience and would get so expensive that the policies would become unaffordable and that whole market could crash,” he said.

Although the newest proposal aims to reduce the number of people who would lose health care insurance from prior versions, Field predicted that “tens of millions” of people will still likely see their coverage evaporate under the newest proposal.

Field said the Congressional Budget Office will have a busy weekend, crunching numbers to determine the impact of the Republicans’ newest proposal on the number of Americans who would be able to acquire health care coverage. 

On July 6, Field discussed health care regulation at a conference hosted by the Instituto de Higiene e Medicina Tropical of Universidade NOVA in Lisbon, Portugal. Field joined speakers from Europe, Africa, and South and North America and discussed health care regulation in their countries.  Field’s discussion focused on his 2007 Oxford University Press book, "Health Care Regulation in America: Complexity, Confrontation and Compromise."