What’s Next for the Affordable Care Act?




Kansas City’s Lockton Benefit Group is offering some perspective on the future of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in light of Donald Trump’s win in the U.S. presidential election: “President-elect Donald Trump campaigned on the message that if elected, he would shake things up. We expect he will do just that, with the help of a Republican-controlled Congress.”

High on the list of things to accomplish for congressional Republicans is the repeal and/or replacement of ACA.

Lockton cautions, “ACA is still the law of the land. Prudent employers will want to continue to comply with the ACA, including the play-or-pay mandate and reporting requirements until formal guidance relieves them of those compliance obligations.”

As for what might be coming in the near future, Lockton lays out some of the ideas key congressional Republicans have considered; those include, allowing the sale of individual health insurance across state lines, expanding the use of health savings accounts (HSAs), allowing taxpayers to deduct premium payments, price transparency in medical services and allowing consumer importation of prescription drugs.

Considering the popularity of some ACA provisions, Lockton sees a full repeal as unlikely, noting that Republicans favor keeping protections for individuals with pre-existing conditions and allowing adult children to say on an employee’s health plan to age 26.

Lockton expects to see Republicans use the same procedural device to change ACA that Democrats used to push it through in 2010—“reconciliation,” which allows for passage of budget-related items on a mere majority vote.