What does the election of Donald Trump as the next U.S. president mean for employers?
The short answer: It’s hard to say.
Three transitions will shape markets and economy post-Presidential election, says Commonwealth Financial’s market guru McMillan.
Trump, like all of the other GOP candidates he vanquished in the primary earlier this year, has repeatedly promised to repeal the Affordable Care Act “on day one” of his presidency. However, what Congress will replace it with it is hard to tell at this juncture.
Trump’s own pronouncements on health care throughout his campaign have varied.
No. 5: Trump and killing the ACA
At the beginning of the primary he said, without providing specifics, that he would provide universal coverage.
Later on during his campaign, however, Trump released a health care plan that largely mirrored conventional Republican proposals put forward by other leading Republicans, such as Speaker Paul Ryan. Those include turning Medicaid into a block-grant program to states and allowing insurers to sell health plans across state lines.
However, what remains unclear is how Trump will scrap the ACA and deal with those who have gained coverage through the law.
“If they repeal, that’s 22 million people, about 10 percent of the American public, that loses coverage. So they better have a plan,” says Kim Buckey, VP of client services of DirectPath, a benefits management consulting firm, in an interview with BenefitsPRO.
So far, says Buckey, Trump and GOP leaders in Congress have not offered specifics about how they plan to repeal the ACA without leading to loss of coverage for current beneficiaries.
“I really haven’t seen anything that clearly addresses that,” she says.
See also: Republicans’ new ACA replacer, dissected
Trump has promised to continue the ACA’s provision that bars insurers from discriminating against customers based on pre-existing medical conditions. (Illustration: iStock)
No. 4: Trump and employer insurance mandate
It will likely be a challenge for President-elect Trump to keep this promise without the individual mandate, which he and other Republicans have pledged to repeal.
The employer insurance mandate is also likely to go out the window, along with a number of other taxes and regulations associated with the law. The medical device tax, as well as a tax on health insurers, both of which were suspended for 2017, will likely not be coming back anytime soon. Nor will the Cadillac Tax, which was suspended until 2018 in a budget agreement last year.
Whatever comes of the GOP’s health care efforts, says Buckey, “it’s a great opportunity for employers and industry to weigh in” on what they would like to see happen.
The National Business Group on Health is voicing optimism about the incoming administration.
“We look forward to working with him and the new Congress on eliminating the ACA excise tax and strengthening employer-sponsored health coverage for the millions of Americans who rely on it,” says Brian Marcotte, president of the group, in a statement. “We also look forward to working to continue to advance the transformation of health care payment and delivery in Medicare and other government programs so that all Americans can benefit from more effective and efficient health care.”