Both the GOP and President-elect Trump have taken some major steps to make good on their promises to repeal the controversial healthcare reform law.
First, there GOP’s action. Recently, there were the reports leaders of the House and Senate Budget committees are planning to vote to repeal the bulk of the ACA in the first week of January.
According to a Politico report, the lawmakers would use a process known as reconciliation, which allows budget bills to pass the Senate with a simple majority, bypassing the Democrats’ ability to filibuster.
However, because the move would kill the healthcare exchanges and the federal subsidies and result in an estimated 20 million Americans losing their insurance, it’s expected the repeal will be delayed for three years.
As Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas) put it:
“We’re talking about a three-year transition now that we actually have a president who’s likely to sign the repeal into the law. People are being, understandably cautious, to make sure nobody’s dropped through the cracks.”
During this delay, the GOP would reportedly put together its replacement — a bill many believe will be modeled after a failed 2015 bill to largely gut the current health reform law.
Architect of previous repeal efforts
Another move that suggests the fate of the ACA is in jeopardy: President Trump’s announcement that he’ll nominate U.S. Representative Tom Price (R-Ga.) as his choice for the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services.
HR pros may know Price as one of the main architects of Republican legislation to repeal and replace the ACA.
To be appointed, Price must first be confirmed for the HHS by the Republican-controlled Senate.
In addition to Price, Trump announced Seema Verma, the founder of health policy consulting firm SVC Inc., as his choice for administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
In a statement, Trump said of Price:
“He is exceptionally qualified to shepherd our commitment to repeal and replace Obamacare and bring affordable and accessible health care to every American,”
And, speaking of Price and Verma, Trump said the tandem represents: “the dream team that will transform our healthcare system for the benefit of all Americans.”
Until the end
While these developments suggest Trump’s promise to “repeal and replace” Obamacare could happen, it’s going to be a long, slow process.
As we’ve mentioned previously, that means employers should continue to focus on complying with the ACA’s various provisions until the law actually changes.
After all, the feds aren’t likely to look kindly on firms and waive non-compliance penalties just because those firms were banking on a repeal.