GOP will kill Obamacare … and then fund it

Republicans are going to kill Obamacare — but first they might have to save it.

The already fragile Obamacare markets — beset by soaring premiums and fleeing insurers — are likely to collapse unless Republicans take deliberate steps to stabilize them while they build consensus on a replacement plan, say health care experts. That could lead to a mess for the roughly 10 million Americans currently getting coverage through the government-run marketplaces — and backlash against the GOP.

“It’s basically a hostage situation,” said Jeff Goldsmith, a veteran health care consultant. “They’re going to have to negotiate something that is safe enough for these insurance companies to tell their boards, ‘We’re not going to get hung out to dry if we provide coverage to these people.’”

But the enticements most likely to keep insurers in the exchanges are the ones in Obamacare that Republicans spent years denouncing as industry “bailouts” — subsidies that were supposed to insulate plans from big losses.