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The Other Trump


When I give my name over the phone, I often preempt the inevitable response with, “Yes, as in Donald, but no relation.”  I have grown used to the questions, the heads turning when I’m called in the doctor’s office, the pause when I place an order at a restaurant.

But will I be able to get used to a world without ACA?

For more than 4 years I have lived an ACA existence.  Analyzing regulations, communicating laws, educating peers, and meeting deadlines are my daily language – a language that is on the brink of an overhaul by Trumpcare.

The Trump Administration wasted no time in starting its Obamacare offensive. Before inauguration day was upon us, the Senate and House both passed budget resolutions to start the repeal process.  On route to his inaugural ball, the President signed an executive order calling on federal agencies to do everything in their power to ease the burdens of ACA.

Is it over for ACA?  Perhaps not.

Budget reconciliation, the chosen path of repeal by Congress, expedites the consideration of bills that relate to the federal budget, as it avoids the dreaded filibuster and passes bills with a simple majority.  Then again, this limited method can only affect laws that relate to federal revenue and spending, such as Medicaid expansion and individual and employer penalties.  In addition, the sole response to the President’s executive order has been the IRS decision not to reject 1040 filings that fail to report an individual’s health coverage.  However, the individual mandate requiring every individual to have health coverage or pay a penalty remains intact.  It seems that instead of sweeping reform, the Trump Administration may be slowly weakening ACA piece by piece.

Employers waiting with baited breath to hear they are off the hook will have to wait a bit longer.  The 2016 1095-Cs must still be given to employees by March 2 and filed with the IRS by March 31st.  2017 also looks like fair game for ACA, as the repeal process will likely take longer than originally anticipated.

Another lingering mystery is the replacement plan.  There has been talk of state-regulated insurance, increased tax credits, and the expansion of HSAs.   Moreover, some aspects of ACA may remain, such as the preexisting conditions protections and coverage up to age 26.  A new phrase, “Repeal and Repair”, has surfaced, as lawmakers struggle to come up with viable solutions.

While the future face of health insurance in this country remains up in the air, I know one thing.  As long as ACA is still in the books, this Trump is going to work hard to help our clients through it.

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