While the President-Elect has made very clear his intentions to immediately repeal and replace Obamacare within his first 100 days, some say this is unlikely, at least from a logistics and political standpoint. Think filibuster and mountains of paperwork and the 20 million Americans currently enrolled. Not to mention the record-breaking surge in Obamacare enrollees over the past few days. While there are a lot of avenues Trump could take to change Obamacare to his liking, this type of work and the implementation process of a new solution takes years, just as the Affordable Care Act did.
In this time of uncertainty, the good news is that most Americans agree that Trump should make healthcare a priority (76%, in fact)—and he has been outspoken during his campaign about pushing this issue forward. Another positive is that while everyone seems to be on different sides of this polarizing issue, the intent is the same: find a solution that provides affordable and quality care to all Americans. Everyone seems agree that the current system is imperfect, from computer glitches to skyrocketing premiums (see our blog on this subject). Its time to fix this and we have elected Donald Trump for the job.
So what would Trumped up Obamacare look like?
While Trump avoided laying out a detailed plan during the campaign, there are a few ideas that continue to take the stage, many of which have traditionally been a part of the Republican platform for healthcare reform in the past several years. There are pros and cons to each of these ideas and it will be interesting to see if they come to fruition and how effective they are.
Price Transparency – More open and transparent provider pricing would let consumers shop for procedures and exams based on price. Sound familiar? Take Command Health does this already.
Insurance Sales Across State Lines – Trump's proposals would allow insurers to sell plans across state lines to drive competition and thus lower prices for consumers. Another expected result of this would be a decrease in regulatory hurdles, which would also drive down pricing and administrative overhead.
Health Savings Accounts – Trump’s proposals suggest expanding these tax-free savings accounts which are currently limited to people younger than 65 who have a high deductible plan. These tax deductions would be an incentive for consumers to sign up and the savings would help balance out the costs of premiums. A negative here is that low-income families wouldn’t particularly benefit from the tax deduction. This also inherently cancels out the coverage mandate set forth in Obamacare, which is to credit for the lowest uninsured rates ever.
Block grants for Medicaid – This proposal shifts much of the burden of Medicaid financing to the states. If it works, the flexibility afforded by block grants would allow states to innovate and run Medicaid more cost-effectively. But millions of Americans could lose Medicaid coverage if the block grants do not keep up with the costs.
Overseas prescription shopping – This proposal allows for consumers to shop for prescriptions overseas to find lower prices. This would likely increase competition among pharma companies and as a result, reduce prices across the board—a win for the consumer.
Will anything stay the same?
Two popular provisions of the ACA are allowing adult children up to age 26 to stay on their parents’ health plans and protecting those with pre-existing conditions against denial of coverage. Given the popularity of these and the fact that they were both included in Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan’s healthcare plan, the President-Elect has said he plans to keep this provisions.
Change is coming
Even if a full repeal doesn’t happen, without an administration committed to the success of Obamacare, more carriers will withdraw from the marketplace. This would potentially leave parts of the country where no marketplace plans are available. Other carriers might raise their rates during this time of uncertainty, making coverage even less affordable to individuals without premium tax credits. If this happens, fear not! Take Command Health is here to help in Texas, Wisconsin, Michigan, Georgia, Florida and Arizona.
Take Action Now
While the ballot is still out on Trump’s plans for ACA, this doesn't mean you should sit and wait. It is open enrollment until December 15th, so now is the time to take action. We encourage you to do your own research on the best plans for you and your family. And we have the tools and data science to help you make smart decisions and avoid wasting money on the wrong plan! You have more choices than the plans offered on the Healthcare.gov marketplace. Our website helps you analyze on- and off-market plans and faith-based plans as well as search for your doctors, your prescriptions and your individual needs. Let’s make the most out of your health insurance dollars. We’re here to help.