Health care companies are already responding to the threat of a Trump presidency and the president-elect’s promise to repeal the Affordable Care Act, colloquially known as Obamacare.
According to health care industry magazine Modern Healthcare, leaders of the Mission Health system have decided to put any large future capital investments on hold out of fear that a repeal, or any other damaging alterations to the law, will make it impossible for them to recoup the benefits of expansion and modernization.
Dr. Ronald Paulus, CEO of Mission Systems, a six-hospital organization based in Asheville, North Carolina, said:
‘It’s eight years going in one direction, then turning on a dime and going in a completely different direction. Uncertainty wreaks havoc in any industry. As a nation, we should decide on a direction and provide some long-standing stability.’
According to Modern Healthcare, insurance CEOs are willing to consider changes to the historic legislation, but are concerned that any plan put in place by a Republican president and congressional majority will be anywhere near as effective at cutting the uninsured rate below 9 percent as Obamacare was able to do.
Modern Healthcare conducted a survey of health care professionals, with 93 responses, including leaders of large hospitals, health care systems, insurers, suppliers, and tech companies. One of the more interesting results of the survey was that 60 percent of those said that the top priority for the Trump administration and incoming Congress should be curbing the growth of prescription drug prices.
The majority of the responders, 86 percent, said that the new administration should do nothing to repeal Obamacare without having a replacement plan that would expand coverage and provide affordable care for all Americans who lack employer coverage.
Dr. William Conway, CEO of the 1,200-physician Henry Ford Medical Group in Michigan, told Modern Healthcare:
‘You can’t drop 20 million people from the insurance rolls. I hope there’s no way to go back.’
A similar survey conducted in May shows that 67 percent of the health care CEOs opposed repealing and replacing Obamacare.
In the new survey, many of the CEOs were concerned that the Republicans will emphasize high-deductible plans, discouraging patients from receiving necessary care because of high out-of-pocket costs. They were also concerned about Republican plans to make changes to Medicaid and Medicare, as advocated by Republican Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan.
Jim Hinton, CEO of Presbyterian Healthcare Services in Albuquerque, New Mexico, told Modern Healthcare:
‘The overriding issue is how we maintain coverage in this country, When people don’t have coverage, all kinds of bad things happen. That’s a really old story and we don’t want to get right back in the middle of that again.’
Many CEOs expressed concerns about Republican proposals to expand high-deductible plans. Modern Healthcare states that “consumers are increasingly concerned about the affordability of care under these plans.”
‘We’ve floated those deductibles so high that for the average person, it is no longer insurance. That pushes the burden onto hospitals or physicians to collect what people may not have.’
The video below discusses the resistance to repealing the ACA by health care professionals and advocates.
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