How might the election affect Obamacare?

Stanford News

November 18, 2016How might the election affect Obamacare? Stanford Health Policy faculty members Michelle Mello, David Studdert and Laurence Baker discuss repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and how it could affect health coverage in the United States.


By Nicole Feldman

Michelle Mello

Now that the United States has elected a Republican president and Congress, what is likely to happen to the Affordable Care Act (ACA)?
Michelle Mello and David Studdert: Exactly what will happen is unclear at this point, particularly since President-elect Trump’s own position on the ACA seems to be evolving by the day. In an interview on Nov. 11, he said he is interested in keeping some of the key provisions of the law, such as a ban on insurers discriminating on the basis of pre-existing conditions and provisions allowing young people to stay on their parents’ plans until age 26. But his opposition to other provisions, including the cornerstone provision requiring individuals to purchase insurance coverage, likely will remain. At this point, about the only thing one can say with certainty is that substantial change is coming.
Is the ACA likely to be repealed fully, or will some components be spared?

Laurence Baker

Mello/Studdert: On the campaign trail, President-elect Trump said repeatedly that repealing Obamacare is a priority. House Republicans have said the same. A complete repeal seems unlikely in the short term, though. There’s more opposition to some provisions of the act than to others, and millions of Americans now depend on health insurance coverage made available through the ACA. More likely, Republicans will target certain key elements – the individual mandate, minimum essential coverage rules, the subsidies available to low-income purchasers of health insurance and federal financing arrangements for the Medicaid program. Eliminating all of these features would spell the end of Obamacare as we know it. Eliminating any one of them …

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