Repeal of the Affordable Care Act will be more likely next year than it has ever been, once Donald Trump takes office and works with a Republican Congress.
Now, the question is with what? A likely framework is one that the House GOP has already devised, "A Better Way." The National Association of Health Underwriters (NAHU) and the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors (NAIFA) expect that this will be a starting point.
That proposal, which was announced in June, includes repealing the ACA and increasing consumer choice. Here are some of the key points:
- Repeal Obamacare.
- Provide all Americans with more choices, lower costs and greater flexibility.
- Protect our nation’s most vulnerable – retaining coverage for those with pre-existing conditions and complex medical needs.
- Spur innovation in health care.
- Protect and preserve Medicare.
Trump is likely to follow the A Better Way blueprint but, "It's uncertain about the the steps he would take to get from where we are now to complete repeal and replace," said Diane Boyle, NAIFA senior vice president of government relations. The key will be what the ACA replacement would look like and how would the transition from the current health care law to a replacement ACA would shape up, Boyle said.
But what is clear is that it will be a top priority.
"I think that discussion will happen right away," she said.
Other questions that would need to be answered under a Republican repeal-and-replace would be how to phase in that repeal and how insurers would price their products to make the system cost-effective and sustainable from the beginning.
One obstacle to repeal, Boyle said, is that the Senate doesn't have the 60 GOP votes necessary for repeal. "But the House does want to repeal. Whether there is an agreement around replacement or not remains to be seen. The Senate is the bigger challenge. Do you use reconciliation there? We need to get a better idea of the administration's strategy on this," she said.
Susan Rupe is managing editor for InsuranceNewsNet. She formerly served as communications director for an insurance agents' association and was an award-winning newspaper reporter and editor. Contact her at Susan.Rupe@innfeedback.com.
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