Despite all the bluster, brinksmanship, and fauxlibustering, Obamacare is not going to be defunded. But if it were, that would do a lot more damage than you'd imagine. As health care law scholar Timothy Jost pointed out in The Hill Wednesday, the massive law "contains provisions affecting nearly every aspect of our health care system." That means defunding it would not only block implementation of the individual and employer mandates, and insurance subsidies for low-income Americans; it would also cut off money for things like Medicare, preventive medicine, and programs for low-income kids.
Here are 8 additional ways that "defunding Obamacare" would hurt Americans (all via Jost):
1. It would slash funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) by 70 percent. CHIP provides health coverage to nearly 8 million children in families with incomes slightly higher than the Medicaid cut off line.
2. Funds would be eliminated for the Early Childhood Home Visiting program, which sends health workers into low-income homes to help prevent child abuse and neglect, improve newborn health, and boost school readiness.
3. Defunding Obamacare would cut back preventive services under Medicare, impacting millions.
4. It could also end payments for certain private plans offered through Medicare.
5. Funding for community health centers in medically underserved areas would be cut by nearly 60 percent.
6. The ACA helps close the Medicare prescription drug "donut hole," the dollar limit on the drug costs the plan will cover each year (right now the limit is $2,970). Defunding Obamacare would leave that coverage limit in place.
7. Funds would be eliminated for scholarships and loan repayment programs for doctors who chose to practice in communities with limited access to health care.
8. Money would be slashed from the Department of Health and Human Services' anti-fraud efforts, increasing the costs of state and federal health care programs.