President Trump and the Fate of the ACA

November 10, 2016

Tuesday night’s election outcome defied pollster predictions and Trump’s entrance to the White House raises some questions about the future of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). During Trump’s presidential campaign he continually promised to repeal the ACA if he became president.  In fact he’s been quoted promising to get rid of it immediately.  This begs the question… What exactly are you going to replace it with? Remember — over 20 million American rely on the Affordable Care Act for health insurance today. With Trump as the newly elected President this is the first time that the GOP has had a realistic opportunity to repeal ACA law. Trump and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan have given very high-level overviews of a possible system that would replace the Affordable Care Act. Also Ben Carson, who originally ran against Trump and now has bid for an advisory/cabinet role, made some recent statements on the repeal. “I think the replacement obviously must come first and it must be something that is very appealing and easy to understand. And then, only then, would you dismantle what’s in place,” said Carson (Politico). After Tuesday’s outcome Ben Carson expressed that he fully intends on being involved in the repeal and replacement process. Oddly enough, their plans seem to resemble a lot of the same concepts that are the basis for the existing health care law: (1) Individuals would get tax credits to help pay for insurance, (2) health savings accounts are implemented (3) Insurers are allowed to sell policies across states lines (Politico). This being said we may see a new Trump-branded version of “Obamacare” that would share a lot of the same characteristics and would also require tax credits and subsidies. Many people are beginning to speculate whether or not the anti-ACA rhetoric was all just campaign-talk.  It is still very early to accurately predict if this promise for an alternative system will gain traction and have what it takes to pass into law.  With the ACA approaching only its second year of mandatory reporting with the Internal Revenue Service another abrupt change would be really get people’s heads spinning.