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Course Examines Health Reform in the Trump Administration

January 6, 2017

Affordable Care Act

Whether it’s the role of the intelligence community or the future of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), government and policy experts are asking the same question: What will change during President Donald Trump’s administration?

H. Guy Collier of McDermott Will & Emery and Sara Rosenbaum of The George Washington University’s Milken Institute School of Public Health will explore these issues as they relate to health reform in the Continuing Legal Education Program’s “Health Law: System and Legal Overview and the Future of Health Reform in the Trump Administration.”

Held on January 11, the course offers a quick introduction to the U.S. health system and will move quickly to the ACA, its achievements and challenges, the road to reform that lies ahead, and the implications of various reform options. The session will also offer a panoramic overview of the field of health law and how the health care system shapes legal practice.

“The debate over the future of the Affordable Care Act is creating enormous uncertainty regarding the future—not just the legal future but the future of health care itself,” says Rosenbaum. “This course will preview the challenges that lie ahead and the potential directions that the law might take.”

Collier agrees. “While the areas of regulation stay the same…the big, big difference is whether the Affordable Care Act, as we know it, stays or goes,” he says. “If it does go, does it go immediately or does it go with a phased replacement? And what will that replacement look like?”

In a preview of the course, Rosenbaum and Collier offer their takes on what should be the focus of ACA reform and what may happen in the new administration.

ACA Challenges That Should Be Addressed by Congress and the New Administration

Rosenbaum highlighted several challenges that have arisen over the course of implementing the ACA, challenges whose need for resolution has garnered considerable consensus. These challenges include coverage that remains unaffordable to the millions who depend on tax subsidies; insufficient tools for stabilizing the individual health insurance market, and a penalty structure that has faced enormous opposition while paradoxically being less than effective. But, Rosenbaum notes, the incoming Congress and Administration seem set, not on finding sensible solutions to these important problems, but instead, to a major retreat from the law’s seminal achievements in insuring tens of millions. Among the most radical reform elements contained in the Republican proposals are:

  • Eliminating the longstanding employment-based insurance system and replacing that with a system of flat individual tax credits, unadjusted for income 
  • Eliminating the ACA’s foundational guaranteed issue protection that guards against exclusion based on pre-existing condition 
  • Eliminating the ACA’s guarantee that all health insurance sold in the U.S. will have at least a decent minimum value 
  • Replacing Medicaid, the largest single source of health insurance in the U.S. today, with a block grant 
  • Replacing Medicare with private insurance premium subsidies. 

To learn more about what’s ahead in health reform, join Collier and Rosenbaum for this program, offered both in-person and as a Webinar. The CLE course will be held from 6 to 9:15 p.m. at the D.C. Bar Conference Center, located at 1101 K Street NW.