Now that Democrats won a majority in the House of Representatives, the Affordable Care Act “is here to stay,” a health care legislation expert said.
Arthur Tacchino is chief innovation officer at SyncStream, an ACA compliance company. He spoke with InsuranceNewsNet on how the midterm congressional election will affect health care in the next two years.
“The biggest takeaway from the election is that the uncertainty over ACA being repealed has gone away,” Tacchino said.
Congress made a major effort last year to repeal and replace the ACA. But except for doing away with the individual mandate penalty as part of tax reform legislation at the end of 2017, the attempt to do away with the ACA never came to fruition. The key provisions of the law stayed in place.
“I think one thing that will come out of the Democratic win last night is that it stabilizes and creates a little more certainty that the ACA is here to stay,” Tacchino said. “And current key provisions of law such as the employer mandate, the marketplaces, the protections of pre-existing conditions – all those things are really here to stay.”
The advantage for agents and brokers is that they can tell their clients with certainty that no major changes to the law are expected any time soon, Tacchino said. This will allow brokers to focus on getting clients enrolled in the coverage that fits their needs.
“They can say, ‘Given that we don’t expect any major changes, what are the best options for you? How can we best advise you?’ It just removes that uncertainty.”
Although Congress was unsuccessful in getting rid of the ACA, President Donald Trump used executive orders and guidance to chip away at some of the law’s provisions. We can expect to see the administration continue to find ways to undermine the ACA, Tacchino said.
Despite the major differences between Democrats and Republicans regarding health care, Tacchino said there are two areas of what he called “mutual ground” where the two parties could work together to find a solution.
One is bringing down the cost of prescription drugs, which was not regulated by the ACA. The other is abolishing the Cadillac Tax, an issue that both parties favor.
“But keeping the marketplace, keeping pre-existing conditions, I think those things are solidified at this point,” Tacchino 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 [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @INNsusan.
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