President Trump has taken the first step in dismantling the Affordable Care Act (ACA, or Obamacare) by signing an Executive Order that gives federal agencies the authority to grant waivers, offer exemptions, and delay provisions if they lower costs. The one-page document is somewhat vague and has failed to outline a specific action, so it is impossible to forecast the potential impact on those who rely on the program. (Note that Americans who purchased insurance on the open market probably won’t experience any changes in 2017.)
It appears that one of the President’s objectives is to eliminate the individual mandate that requires most Americans to have health insurance or be subject to an IRS tax penalty. The theory behind the mandate was to require healthy persons to purchase insurance, which ultimately lowers the cost for everybody. Many experts believe eliminating this particular provision will increase the inflation rate associated with insurance premiums.
It will be interesting to see how the architects of the new program will address this cost-sharing issue.
Another available option for President Trump to undo the ACA is to not defend a pending lawsuit filed by the House of Representatives, which contends that the President does not have the authority to provide specific health-insurance subsidies. Ignoring this suit would ostensibly dissolve the individual commercial insurance marketplace, but also leave millions of Americans without health insurance.
The President specifically stated that he expects a smooth transition from the ACA, so it is unlikely that he will take a course of action that could produce such a drastic outcome. In fact, he recently announced that his team is in the process of completing the design of a replacement program that will insure more Americans while lowering the cost of insurance premiums.
Putting politics aside, the ACA has provided us with some attractive benefits, but glaring issues, such as health care inflation and the cost of prescription drugs, must still be addressed. To that end, President Trump wants to allow Medicare and Medicaid to negotiate prescription-drug pricing, which may scale down the rising costs of drugs across the country.
Unfortunately, questions still remain. How many more Americans will be insured by the new program? What will be the cost of tax credits or subsidies? And the billion-dollar question: how do we pay for all this?
The system can clearly be improved, and the President appears more than motivated to do just that. To measure if he succeeds, we have provided you with a set of knock-off sheets that will allow you to objectively compare and assess new program features and costs with the Affordable Care Act.
Click on the following link to access the knock off sheets: http://fileshar.es/Hn4w7JD