Um, no. Whatever those mysterious “some people” might think, not only is Obamacare still with us, but its problems are getting worse.
What the president was likely referring to was the health‐care law’s much‐despised individual mandate, the requirement that every American purchase health insurance or pay a penalty, which was repealed as part of the tax‐reform bill. But while the mandate was always the most unpopular part, it was never the structural heart of the Affordable Care Act.
In many ways, Obamacare’s original sin is its requirement that insurers cover people with pre‐existing conditions without charging them premiums commensurate with their costs. By trying to shoehorn people who are almost by definition uninsurable into the traditional insurance markets, Obamacare undermined and destabilized those markets — risking what actuaries call an adverse‐selection death spiral, in which the sick are increasingly likely to purchase insurance, while the healthy drop out of the market. The individual mandate was a costly and ineffective attempt to deal with this problem by forcing young and healthy people to buy overpriced insurance, thereby offsetting the losses insurers were suffering on covering the old and sick. Other troublesome aspects of Obamacare, from subsidies to the government‐designed standard benefits package, flow naturally from this point.