Fox News show "The Five" discussed how President-elect Donald Trump and the Republican-controlled Congress may repeal Obamacare without a replacement plan ready to go, and what would happen to the estimated 20 million people who are covered under the landmark health care law, on Nov. 30 (video below).
Juan Williams posed this question to the panel, notes Media Matters:
What about these 20 million people who got coverage [through Obamacare]? What about the people who said I like keeping my kid on until 26? What about people with pre-existing conditions? Oh no, well, you can't take care of them because we have no mandate, which I know is a big objection of yours, and we don't have a plan. And so, even President-elect Trump once said, you can't just put these people out on the street.
In response, Eric Bolling said: "They're not on the street. You still have Medicare and Medicaid. So that's always going to be there. And you have emergency rooms which we had before until another plan is floated, that's acceptable."
However, the repeal of Obamacare would actually end expanded Medicaid coverage for an estimated 16 million people in 31 states.
The idea of sending uninsured people to emergency rooms was advocated by President George W. Bush in 2007 and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney in 2012, noted The Washington Post.
The National Association of Community Health Centers issued a report in 2004 (pre-Obamacare) that found uninsured people were flooding emergency rooms with non-emergency issues in 2002, noted Reuters.
The report stated: "Some health centers are experiencing an explosion of uninsured patients as high as 73 percent, and due to a weakened economy and state budget cuts, no letup is in sight," and, "Fewer doctors open their doors to patients who rely on Medicaid. One-fifth are not accepting any new Medicaid patients."