Late yesterday evening, Republicans in the Senate took the first step toward repealing the Affordable Care Act, also known as ObamaCare. The vote which passed 51-48, sets in motion a budget reconciliation process that will allow Congress to repeal certain aspects of the law specifically those having to do with taxation and funding.
Repealing the entire law would require more doing but this first step lays the groundwork to effectively render the law unsustainable without adequate funding.
While there appears to be pretty much unanimous support among Republicans for repealing the law as quickly as possible, there is less solidarity on replacing the law with something better. And as quickly as the repeal process appears to be moving, it seems unlikely that a satisfactory replacement will be ready to immediately take the place of ACA.
The question of whether ACA is good or bad is a highly polarized issue. I personally see the value in some aspects of the bill such as the exclusion of pre-existing conditions clauses. But with that said, much of the bill consisted of shifting expenses from one payer to another. And while this was effective initially, we are starting to see costs of ACA health plans rise.
In addition to the consumer aspects of ACA, the law also included provisions restricting profitability of insurance companies. The impact of these provisions has led to massive changes in these companies and to a reduction in competition.
President-Elect Trump campaigned on the idea of opening state borders and allowing insurance companies to compete freely. I’m not sure how quickly this change could be made as it would undoubtably face stiff challenge from individual states.
I would like to see changes made to the existing ACA law but I am concerned about the desire to simply repeal the law without provisions in place to protect those currently served by it.
Many of those ACA health plan participants are also the same people living and writing about personal finance and early retirement.
I would love to hear back from readers about their thoughts on repealing ObamaCare. How much of an impact do you think this will have on you and your retirement plans?