Jan 30, 2017 - Health

Will Obamacare repeal get back on track?

Matt Rourke/AP

This week gives Republicans a chance to try to recover from last week's stumbles, which included a GOP retreat that didn't produce any clear consensus on an Obamacare replacement plan — but did produce a leaked recording of everyone arguing about it behind closed doors. There was also the Trump administration's attempt to shut down Obamacare outreach, partially dialed back on Friday so it's limited to $4 million to $5 million in TV and radio ads. (The official HealthCare.gov Twitter account is back to tweeting reminders to sign up.)

Couple of things to watch this week:

Will piecemeal work? It's clear that the House, at least, is starting with a bunch of smaller Obamacare replacement bills, with crucial details they're still working out. That's certainly the case with pre-existing conditions. Republicans are trying to shut down the talk that they don't have plans, but they don't have a ton of time to work out details if they want to meet their goal of a House vote by early March.

Will Obamacare enrollment recover? There won't be a total blackout of Obamacare outreach after all, but it's not clear how much that will help the signup effort. One way or another, open enrollment is ending under an administration that's hostile to the law. The message it sent by trying to stop outreach, according to Larry Levitt of the Kaiser Family Foundation, is that it "seems more intent on accelerating the demise of the health law than on running the program effectively and keeping insurance markets stable."

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