Health and Science

If Obamacare fails, it won't die a natural death but be 'choked' by GOP: Former Molina CEO

Key Points
  • Obamacare won't collapse under its own weight — if it is done in, it will be because of Republicans' actions, Mario Molina said.
  • President Donald Trump called on the Senate to renew its efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare.
  • On Tuesday, Trump had said it would be easier to just let Obamacare fail.
Obamacare will not collapse: Former Molina Healthcare CEO
Obamacare will not collapse: Former Molina Healthcare CEO

Despite President Donald Trump's belief that Obamacare can just be left to "fail," if the law collapses it will be solely because of actions by the GOP, former Molina Healthcare CEO Mario Molina told CNBC on Wednesday.

"If Obamacare fails, it's not going to die a natural death. This thing is going to be choked by Donald Trump and the Republicans, and there's going to be no way for them to deny that. They have the power to fix it. They have the power to destroy it," he said in an interview with "Closing Bell."

Republicans failed to garner enough support to ensure passage of their most recent bill that would repeal and replace Obamacare. That prompted a GOP proposal to simply repeal Obamacare without a replacement, but it quickly lost support.

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On Tuesday, Trump said, "Let Obamacare fail; it'll be a lot easier."

"We'll let Obamacare fail, and then the Democrats are going to come to us, and they're going to say, 'How do we fix it? How do we fix it?' Or, 'How do we come up with a new plan?'" he told reporters.

However, on Wednesday the president called for renewed efforts to draft new legislation instead of letting Obamacare implode. He said senators should stay in Washington, D.C., to hammer it out before leaving for the August recess.

"We have no choice. We have to repeal and replace Obamacare. We can repeal it, but the best is repeal and replace," Trump said.

Following Trump's comments, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said the Senate would proceed next week with a vote on a motion to move ahead with a repeal bill. While the proposal doesn't include a replacement plan, it could be amended, he said.

According to the Congressional Budget Office, repealing many Obamacare provisions would lead to 27 million uninsured people in 2020. That figure would climb to 32 million by 2026, the CBO said in its new report.

"That means 1 in 10 Americans will lose their insurance if this bill is repealed," Molina said.

He said stabilizing the Obamacare marketplace requires insurance subsidies to be funded. He said there should be a reinsurance pool so that health plans don't have an incentive to avoid costly patients. Plus, the mandate needs to be enforced, he said.

"You can't expect health insurance companies to insure people and have guaranteed access to insurance and not have people required to sign up. You can't expect them to only insure sick people," said Molina.

— CNBC's Christine Wang and Jacob Pramuk contributed to this report.