One of the most interesting questions I get more and more is the question of …”What’s going to happen if the …… get the White House?”
At first I thought this question could just get me into trouble with some clients who were looking to see where I stood on the ACA and the current Health Care Reform issues. As I kept getting the question more and more often I realized that many were asking because they wanted to figure out a strategy for not subscribing to the required Health Insurance Mandate!! They were analyzing their odds of the fine being repealed and all of this Gotta Get It Or Else debate!!
Lets try to view this from a basic, practical approach. How long did this Law take to get passed through the government branches, regs written, and implemented? If you recall, this entire process was almost the entire two terms of the guy who pushed it! Lets just say over 6 years! If government worked to change the old system to the ACA in a period of 6 years and not everyone is onboard just yet, how long will it take to unscramble the egg? My bet is at least half of the 6 years or maybe longer to get a bill through the Congress, a set of rules and regulations established, a roll out time frame and of course the actual implementation!
As of this moment, not everyone has complied with the Gotta Have It rules. Many are just waiting or really don’t want it and are just sitting by the side of the curb watching this election hot potato bake a bit longer. I’m very interested in the numbers and I have noticed that the insurance companies are not as happy with them either as the prices just keep rising and rising. I thought the basis of everyone having the coverage would mitigate the massive price hikes. Not so. We are seeing the rise of the ACA group rates meet and exceed the pre-ACA numbers. The idea of providing ACA benefits was to have all of us paying premiums or fines to pay the bills. If this is the idea of implementation and prices are rising, something is amiss!
What I think will possibly happen is that parts of the various Mandates will be suspended. instead of the required aspect of take it or get fined, that could be suspended for a time while new products could be designed. The guaranteed issues aspect which is a large part of the Act should possibly remain to keep enticing new insureds. The individual mandate would be the likely place to start with this. Group plans could essentially stay the same with more products being offered perhaps with some modifications of the 10 essentials to help reduce the overall costs.
Untying the knot in one swell foop wouldn’t solve the problem. We have too much to lose that way. Time will tell is the only answer that I can give. Time to elect a new head of government. Time to see where the ideas head for further reform or Single Payer or ? Time to implement the new ideas. Question best asked is do you have enough time to consider where this is going?