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Wednesday, 25 January 2017 20:13

Update on ACA Repeal and Replace Strategy

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It was no secret before President Trump signed the executive order that he wanted the Affordable Care Act (ACA) repealed, and now he has made his intentions clear. His first signed executive order requires federal agencies to ease the economic burden of the ACA “to the maximum extent permitted by law” until it is repealed. Although the executive order doesn’t grant the administration any powers that it didn’t already have, it does signal to the public that change is coming. 

The President wants Congress to move quickly to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, and they have indeed started that process. Republicans voted rapidly for a budget resolution that enables them to pass a complete repeal of the ACA by reconciliation which only requires a simple majority in the Senate (Republicans have 52 seats) rather than the filibuster-proof 60 votes. Any replacement plan, however, will require 60 votes.

Congressional Republicans are far from a consensus on a repeal-and-replace effort that won’t leave millions of Americans without insurance, and an intensive Republican retreat last week focused solely on the ACA failed to produce concrete solutions. Repeal without a replacement, or repeal with a delay, as some lawmakers have suggested, could send insurance markets into a tailspin. Insurers have suggested that if the replacement plan is not clear and the mandates are eliminated, they would likely need to withdraw from the individual market until clarity on a workable alternative is achieved. 

Alternative replacements have been suggested, including the “Patient Freedom Act of 2017” and the “Empowering Patients First Act,” both which need to be explored more thoroughly. The original budget measure called for a repeal plan to be delivered to the White House by Jan. 27, though that date has since been delayed for several weeks.

Republicans have many hesitations on moving forward on repeal without clear replacement, which has brought uncertainty on next steps. “Before we take this plane in the air I want to know where we’re going to land it. Right now I’m not sure where we’re landing it,” said Rep. Charlie Dent, R-Pa., one of nine House Republicans who voted against the budget resolution. 

If there is anything for certain, it is uncertainty, as it will take a little while for Republicans to work through the details of their plans and attempt to recruit Democratic support. Expect more details to be unveiled in the weeks ahead, and be sure to attend our webinar on March 14th, where we will give you an update on all the details we know at that time.

Meanwhile, both employers and individuals should continue to comply with all current ACA laws and regulations unless and until formal guidance relieves some or all of their responsibilities. Please This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you have any specific questions on the ACA – we’re happy to help!

Read 628 times Last modified on Tuesday, 31 January 2017 11:16
Juliet Fitzgibbons

Juliet joins Fall River as an Account Executive and brings over 15 years of prior broker and account management experience. Her experience brings extensive knowledge on employee benefit programs, account management and creative cost-saving strategies and compliance solutions for employers of various sizes.

She is responsible for new business proposals, client renewals including plan benchmarking, rate analysis and mid-year reviews. She helps clients navigate healthcare systems and educates employers and employees through open enrollment meetings and day-to-day service requests. Juliet joined Fall River in 2015.