Partial repeal of the most controversial parts of the Affordable Care Act could hurt insurers, a professional Washington watcher says.
Edward Fensholt, director of compliance services at Lockton Inc., Kansas City, Mo., an insurance broker, has included that warning in a commentary on the results of the Nov. 2 elections.
Voters put the House under the control of the Republicans.
Democrats continue to control the Senate and the White House.
Many Republican candidates for Congress promised during their campaigns that they would do their best to repeal the Affordable Care Act, the package that includes the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA).
“Even had Republicans managed to capture control of the Senate in addition to their reclamation of the House, the health reform law was in no danger of repeal,” Fensholt says.
Even Republicans won over enough Democrats to assemble the 60 votes needed to get a bill to the Senate floor, President Obama would veto the bill, and the Republicans would then need to come up with 67 votes to overturn the veto, Fensholt says.
In theory, Republicans could force the Democrats to repeal the Affordable Care Act by holding the federal budget hostage, but “holding up the federal budget – threatening the shutdown of the government – is risky business,” Fensholt says. “Many voters are weary of partisanship and are looking for Congress to make something good happen.”
Although some voters who voted Nov. 2 may dislike the Affordable Care Act, only 18% cited the act as their “primary issue,” and 62% picked the economy, Fensholt says.