Choice Stories

December 21, 2016

ACA Repeal Could Take Years

ACA Repeal Could Take Years

There’s a lot of talk – and, perhaps, even more being written – about President-elect Donald Trump’s plan to work with the new Republican-controlled Congress in 2017 to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Some members of Congress have said it will be their first legislation action taken in the new year; however, there are multiple strategies being discussed and Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) told Reuters news service in December that he is unwilling to commit to a repeal timeline. McConnell was quoted as saying, “We will work expeditiously to come up with a better program than the current law, because the current law is simply unacceptable and not sustainable.” The U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate will go to work on January 3, 2017, with the new president to be sworn in more than two weeks later on January 20. Nevertheless, there are some – both inside and outside of Washington – who believe a full repeal is unlikely. Even President-elect Trump admits there are provisions of the health care law that are attractive and popular. Those include coverage for pre-existing conditions and the ability of parents to keep a child on their health plan until age 26. Throughout this most-recent election cycle, many critics of the ACA blamed the run-up in the costs of health care on health care reform.

Rising Health Care Costs

The reality is health care costs have been rising for years – both before and after the implementation of the ACA. Rising premium and deductible costs are a reflection of escalating health care prices. Don Berwick, former administrator for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), told Kaiser Health News that if the House and Senate had the votes, they could repeal the ACA tomorrow, but health care costs would continue to go up. In fact, as reported by the Los Angeles Times in September, health care costs this year saw the highest month to month increase in more than three decades. The overall price of health care increased by one percent in August, the largest monthly increase since 1984. “If that 1% rate was sustained each month,” Geoffrey Joyce, director at the University of Southern California’s Schaeffer Center for Health Policy and Economics told the Times, “you’d see 12% growth for the entire year, and that would be very concerning.” Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas) told Politico that upending the entire health care system for those currently enrolled in coverage through the federal and state health exchanges is not expected. “We talking about a three-year transition now that we actually have a president who’s likely to sign the repeal into law.

People are being, understandably cautious, to make sure nobody’s dropped through the cracks.” House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-California) expects reality to set in and some negotiation on health care law changes to follow. He told Politico, “I think once it’s repealed, you will have, hopefully, fewer people playing politics and coming together to try to find the best policy.” Once a repeal vote is taken, insurers could decide to leave the healthcare.gov marketplace right away, which could further complicate coverage for hundreds of thousands or even millions who are currently insured. Some insurers operate in many markets across the country, while others serve only a single state or a few states. Your CaliforniaChoice broker can help you stay up to date on what’s changing – and what’s likely to stay the same – with the ACA. If you don’t have a broker, we can help you find one.

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