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Can Donald Trump and the Republicans repeal Obamacare? Here’s what hundreds of forecasters predict.

- January 19, 2017

No item on Donald Trump’s agenda seems to have received as much publicity as his desire to repeal the Affordable Care Act and replace it with “something terrific.”

Since his election, the prospects for repeal have taken many a twist and turn. Two weeks ago, repeal suddenly appeared doubtful — as key Senate Republicans balked at the idea of repeal without a full-fledged replacement.

But then last week, the Senate’s vote on a budget resolution seemed to make repeal more likely, as it opened the door to changing the law via a simple majority vote (specifically, the budget process called “reconciliation“).

As part of our “Trump’s First 100 Days” forecasting tournament with Good Judgment, we have asked forecasters this question: “Will legislation removing the individual mandate to purchase health insurance be signed before 30 April 2017?” This captures one key, and controversial, element of the Affordable Care Act.

There have been about 850 forecasts in the past two months. Here’s what those forecasters say:


The overall trend is clear: an increase in the probability of repeal by April 30. But at the same time, the current probability — 65 percent — hardly suggests a certainty. Put it this way: it’s like asking Chris Webber to take a free throw. His accuracy is better than a coin flip . . . but not that much better.

Equally interesting is how little the forecast has changed over the past few weeks, despite the headlines suggesting differing prospects for ACA repeal. This suggests that forecasters had already incorporated something like the use of reconciliation into their forecast. Or they may perceive that some events, perhaps these potentially balky Senators, are actually not important enough to alter the forecast.

Of course, this will be an issue worth watching. The forecast will be live through April 30. You’re welcome to add your prediction here.