Health insurance headed for trouble


President Donald Trump and Republicans in Congress are high-fiving each other over passing a tax cut of which most Americans are leery. Equally bothersome is a provision in the tax-cut law that will add more uncertainty to the health insurance market.

Repealing Obamacare’s requirement that most financially able Americans buy health insurance may be temporarily popular. When the repercussions of that decision kick in, though, watch the popularity fade.

The insurance mandate made the risk of covering pre-existing conditions doable. Guaranteed a stream of premium payments from younger, healthier customers, insurers could afford to provide coverage to older, sicker customers at a rate less than their healthy histories would dictate.

Now, it’s likely that a lot Americans who haven’t much used their insurance will drop it, and insurers will have to jack up the rates significantly on those who can’t risk going without coverage.

However all this plays out, it can’t be good.

By dropping the insurance mandate but leaving in place the requirement that pre-existing conditions be covered, Republicans are pretending that the two are not intertwined. They are.

When Obamacare further unravels, the GOP better have a plan for something workable to replace it — a task its leaders have had years to formulate with zero results.

Worries about health care, according to a national poll released this week, tops the concern list of Americans, and they have little faith in the government to fix it. Repealing the insurance mandate does nothing to reduce that pessimism.