ACA Fact vs. Speculation II: Will the ACA go away after the 2016 elections?
The first Presidential primary in the nation took place this week and we are now less than nine months away from the General Election. We know there will be a new President elected. We know that around 470 seats in the House and Senate will be decided. We don’t know who will be occupying any of these offices – or whether any shifts in the partisan makeup or ideology will create the means or inclination to change the status quo on Health Care Reform. Hillary Clinton has stood on her record going back to the health care reform efforts during her husband’s administration. The Republican candidates have stated “repeal and replace” as their intention for Obamacare. Bernie Sanders proposes changing everything into a single-payer model. The campaign will surely shape the dialog during 2016, but will the elections really change the ACA, now almost six years into implementation?
For the ACA to go away – today or after the new President is inaugurated – Congress would have to initiate legislation to modify or repeal the ACA and depending on who is elected President, they may or may not need sufficient votes to override a veto. Aside from the mechanics of repeal is the question of whether Congress would really want to. Millions of Americans now have access to health insurance through the ACA and removing that coverage by repealing the law could prove tremendously unpopular. The newly elected politicians probably don’t want to be “one and done”. It could happen theoretically, but the barriers to the ACA being repealed are significant.
The latest bill to be introduced is the Burr-Hatch-Upton proposal, also known as the Patient Choice, Affordability, Responsibility, and Empowerment (Patient CARE) Act. This measure attempts to correct some of the ACA’s funding gaps with restructured subsidy and tax deductibility provisions, but raises affordability issues for many who would receive less premium assistance under this plan. What is unclear is whether the Patient CARE Act would change any of the provisions affecting employers providing health care benefits.
Best Practice: Make your plans based on what we know today. If things change, everyone will need to adjust. Waiting until the end of the year only puts you another year behind.
About Tim Crawford
Tim is Vice President, Marketing at Keenan and he has worked in the insurance field for more than 35 years. He has been a member of the Health Care Reform Committee for the past three years and enjoys writing about technical and community issues.