January 18, 2017 News

What Capital Region Residents Think of ACA Repeal

Even in a solid blue state like New York, a repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has merit, at least that’s what many Capital Region residents say. Just days before President-elect Donald J. Trump is set to take the oath of office, a CDPHP® Insights survey found that a majority of health care consumers (55 percent) support a repeal of the ACA. Of those who want to do away with it, 80 percent want to see plans to replace it first.

Trump and the Republican-controlled Congress have already begun the process of dismantling the ACA, but the question of what’s next remains. Just as with the uncertainty of Mr. Trump’s election, many questions are still unanswered when it comes to the future of health care in America. And many states’ governments, including ours, are concerned about the federal funds being pulled and consumers losing coverage.

The ACA was passed in 2010 with two main goals: increase access and improve affordability. No one can argue that more Americans have insurance since the law took effect, but most would agree that the law was unsuccessful in addressing the affordability epidemic. In fact, just 5 percent of CDPHP Insights respondents said they were able to afford health insurance as a result of the law. Instead, the vast majority (95 percent) said their health care costs either went up or were unchanged in the wake of the law.

As the CEO of a not-for-profit health plan, I can tell you that the ACA – despite improving health insurance access across the country — included a copious number of taxes, fees, and other mandates, which added significant cost to the system. Speaking solely on the issue of taxes, CDPHP alone pays $93 million a year in state and federal taxes, and $33 million of that is directly related to the ACA. Sadly, consumers like yourself are being forced to foot those bills through higher insurance premiums and changes to benefits.

As the new administration prepares to settle into the White House, I would like to add my two cents, a wish list of sorts, for the future of health reform:

  • Provide consumers, health plans, and state government with a reasonable transition period to effectively implement a replacement plan
  • Provide health plans with flexibility to create innovative benefits that meets consumers’ needs and wants
  • Provide limited enrollment periods, perhaps similar to Medicare Advantage
  • Encourage consumers to have continuous coverage to promote healthy risk pools
  • Provide continued coverage for adult children up to age 26
  • Provide continued coverage of pre-existing conditions

The fact of the matter is that the ACA has not completely lived up to its promise, and most consumers know it. While the days, weeks, and months ahead are sure to be unpredictable, I am hopeful that – if we work together – we can get it right this time around.

John D. Bennett, MD, FACC, FACP
About 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 J.D. Power Member Health Plan Study 2021. Under his leadership, CDPHP has also become known as a model employer regionally and nationally, and was recently named among the top three Best Companies to Work for in New York by the Society for Human Resource Management, as well as Forbes Best-in-State Employers 2021. 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 vice chair for the Palace Theatre. Bennett also serves on the boards of the Capital Region Chamber, 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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