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AOPA Watching, Waiting on Consequences of President?s Attempt to Overhaul ACA

The American Orthotic & Prosthetic Association (AOPA) says it will be watching and waiting for the consequences of President Trump’s October 12 non-legislative overhaul of the country’s healthcare insurance program and significant administrative changes to the Affordable Care Act (ACA). 

According to AOPA, the two major executive actions comprise this effort: First, clearing the path for sale of short-term insurance plans that do not have full ACA essential health benefits and other rules, at lower rates for healthy individuals, as well as clearing the path for sale of insurance through association plans that will include sale of insurance across rate lines without meeting state license laws. Second, the administration will stop providing $7 billion in annual Cost Sharing Reduction (CSR) subsidies to health insurers to help cover the co-pays and deductibles of lower income individuals.

It will take time for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to write and implement the new rules for the short-term and association plans. As a result, the plans will likely not be available for up to a year, even as the subsidy reversal could push many from their current plans. In the near term, these changes will impact a minor portion of the health insurance market; employer-based plans, Medicare, Medicaid, and veterans’ healthcare will remain unaffected, according to AOPA.

Though AOPA says it anticipates a “bevy of litigation” to challenge the executive order, it anticipates attempts at legislation to stabilize insurance premiums. 

“Depending on how health insurers respond, the results could have our healthcare looking more as like it did before the ACA was enacted: more lower income people uninsured; sicker people potentially paying higher premiums, no assured universal essential health benefits, more people seeking care in hospital emergency rooms listed as uncompensated care, but with the cost of their coverage subsidized by higher costs for paying patients and cost-shifting,” said AOPA.