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ACA Watch 2017: Trump Signs Executive Order, Congress Forges Ahead

As I indicated in my first article of the year, change is imminent. The real questions are “what” will change and “when” will it happen.

As the new 45th President of the United States, Donald Trump is not wasting any time jumping in to make good on his campaign promise to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Signing an executive order on inauguration day instructing his administration to seek the “prompt repeal” of the health care law marks the beginning of a new health care journey.

While the executive order is not a law and does not repeal the ACA, it sets the tone for Congress and the regulatory agencies— the Department of Health and Human Resources (HHS), the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and the Department of Labor (DOL) — instructing them to make every effort possible to delay, change, or eliminate any provisions of the ACA that imposes a “cost, fee, penalty or regulatory burden.”

Stepping in line, the 115th Congress is responding to the call for change. Both the House and Senate are introducing pieces of legislation that range from modifications, or elimination of certain provisions, all the way to full repeal of the law.

Listed below is the summary of the active health care bills that correlate to repeal or modification of the ACA:

Bill Text/Topic House Senate
Full repeal • 7 bills

• 303 co-sponsors

• 3 bills

• 6 co-sponsors

Partial repeal • 16 bills

• 282 co-sponsors

 • 2 bills

• 29 co-sponsors

HSA expansion • 4 bills

• 27 co-sponsors

 • 2 bills

• 2 co-sponsors

Real action on the ACA repeal is pending the appointment confirmation of the new HHS Secretary, Senator Tom Price. All stakeholders expect that confirmation to come soon, even as early as this week. Senator Price is known for his forward thinking on health care reform and consistently put forth reform bills in the last three Congresses. President Trump and Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, confirm their support for Senator Price and look to him to lead this charge.

Moving forward, we will continue to see a lot of activity in Washington; however, any change requires a careful look at the effect on individuals and the market.  The key is stability and sustainability.

The good news is that as the administration pushes forward they are aware that it will take time. In a recent interview, President Trump stated, "We're going to be putting it in fairly soon, I think that yes I would like to say by the end of the year at least the rudiments, but we should have something within the year and the following year."

As I prepare for my trip to Washington this week and meetings with our Congressional leaders, your questions and concerns are on the top of my list.  Please make sure to join me for my next webinar on February 21, “Greetings from the Hill,” where I’ll share with you the results of my visit, insights into the thoughts of our Congressional leaders, and what new developments are on the horizon.