March 16, 2017 News

ACA Repeal & Replace: Everybody, Stay Calm!

Anxiety is described as a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about something with an uncertain outcome. Symptoms can include rapid heart rate, heavy breathing, sweaty palms, and difficulty focusing.

Lawmakers in Washington are likely experiencing some of these symptoms as they begin the process of dismantling the Affordable Care Act. President Trump and the Republican-controlled House made a campaign promise to repeal the law immediately after taking office. They’re now finding that the process of making good is a bit more complicated.

The ACA jitters are also prevalent in our home state, which operates its own Exchange and has a large, benefit-rich Medicaid program. New York is one of 32 states that chose to expand Medicaid and offer a Medicaid-like product called The Essential Plan. According to New York officials, the state stands to lose $3.7 billion dollars if that federal funding is pulled.

Politicians aren’t the only ones feeling a bit uneasy. The uncertainty is causing a bit of angst among health plans, like CDPHP. If the state loses federal funding, questions remain about the affordability of care for millions of Medicaid members. Insurers also like predictability. The state requires us to submit our rates for approval almost a year before they hit the market. That means, we need to know who we’re covering, how much they might cost, and what rules there are over their benefits. At this point, all of those questions remain unanswered.

Last but certainly not least, consumers are also feeling anxious about the future of health care in America. And rightfully so. They’re the ones footing the bills! In 2016, per capita health care costs exceeded $10,000 for the first time in the U.S. and are now the leading cause of bankruptcy among Americans. Individuals, families, and small and large business owners are all feeling the pressure as they face higher insurance premiums, rising deductibles, and increased taxes. And, the ACA did very little to address the true drivers of health care costs.

All of this news can be a bit overwhelming. But I think it’s important for all of us – elected officials, health plans, and consumers alike – to take a few deep breaths and focus on the actions that will improve our health care system long-term.

Like most not-for-profit health plans, CDPHP is deeply committed to the community we serve. Regardless of what happens in Washington, we plan to continue providing services that improve and protect the health and financial security of our consumers, families, businesses, and community. The way we achieve this is by promoting consumer choice and market competition; simplifying the health care experience; supporting partnerships with government; partnering with providers; and harnessing data and technology to drive quality, efficiency, and consumer satisfaction.

Together, these commitments will not only make health care better, but will strengthen our nation and improve the quality of life for millions of Americans.

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John D. Bennett, MD, FACC, FACP
About the Author

John D. Bennett, MD, FACC, FACP, is president and CEO of Capital District Physicians’ Health Plan, Inc. (CDPHP), an award-winning, physician aligned, not-for-profit health plan based in Albany, NY. Bennett has held the position since 2008 after serving more than 10 years as chair, vice chair, and board member for CDPHP. During his tenure, CDPHP has been ranked among the top-performing health plans in New York and the nation, most recently named #1 in Customer Satisfaction in the 2023 J.D. Power Member Health Plan Study. Under his leadership, CDPHP has also become known as a model employer regionally and nationally and was recently named among the top five Best Companies to Work for in New York by the Society for Human Resource Management, as well as Forbes Best-in-State Employers 2022. Prior to joining CDPHP, Bennett served as founding member and CEO of Prime Care Physicians, PLLC. During his tenure, he co-led a team of 25 cardiologists and helped grow the practice to a 100-physician multi-specialty group. Bennett is board certified by the National Board of Medical Examiners and the American Board of Internal Medicine, with subspecialties in internal medicine and cardiology. He earned his medical degree at SUNY-Downstate Medical Center, Brooklyn, and a Bachelor of Science degree at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Bennett completed an internship and residency in internal medicine and a fellowship in cardiovascular disease at Albany Medical Center. He is a Fellow of the American College of Cardiology and the American College of Physicians. Bennett is currently board chair for the Center for Economic Growth and the Capital Region Chamber, and vice chair for the Palace Theatre. Bennett also serves on the boards of the New York eHealth Collaborative (NYeC), the Alliance of Community Health Plans (ACHP), America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and Russell Sage Colleges. Bennett is a member of the New York Public Health and Health Planning Council where he helps shape decisions related to New York State's public health and health care delivery system. Well-known locally and nationally for advancing health care innovation, Bennett was recently named to Crain’s New York Business 2021 Notable in Health Care, as well as the Albany Business Review’s Power 50 list.

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