On November 9, ACHP held a post-election briefing for members to anticipate the expected health care agenda of the incoming Congress and Trump administration and what it could mean for insurers and providers.
Republicans retained the majority in Congress with 239 seats in the House and 52 seats in the Senate. Senate races considered close went to Republican candidates, including Sen. (R-AZ) John McCain, Sen. (R-PA) Pat Toomey and Sen. (R-NC) Richard Burr. Republican control in Congress leaves their plans for health care to be assessed also.
Addressing the Affordable Care Act is among Trump’s top priorities. During his campaign, Trump suggested encouraging the use of health savings accounts, allowing insurers to sell plans across state lines and implementing Medicaid block grants as possible alternatives to the provisions under the current health law.
There is uncertainty on who will fill key health policy positions. Individuals mentioned at the day-after briefing are no longer under consideration, while rumors circulate daily for secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) and other cabinet positions. Andrew Bremberg, former staff to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), heads the HHS transition team and may move into a senior position.
Trump has stated he seeks to keep some of the ACA intact, including provisions preventing insurers from denying coverage to individuals with pre-existing conditions and allowing children to stay on their parents’ insurance until age 26. Most of Trump’s plans are to be determined, as health care was not heavily discussed during the campaign. Congressional leaders, especially House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) will be influential in health policy discussions.