In 2010 the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was passed by the Obama administration. We often hear the ACA referred to as “Obamacare”. President Obama stated that he hoped that the landmark legislation would serve as a starting point and would evolve and improve over time. Since then, the courts have challenged key components of ACA and have reversed the individual mandate requiring people to have qualified coverage or pay a tax penalty. Arguably, the most popular feature of the ACA is accessibility to health insurance for those with pre-existing conditions.
The Affordable Care Act Under President Trump
President Trump signed an Executive Order that was released by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Department of Labor, and the Department of the Treasury in October 2020. This is referred to as the Transparency in Coverage Final Rule. It seeks to give consumers the tools needed to access pricing information through their health plans. By reducing the secrecy behind health care pricing, the order seeks to create greater competition within the private health care industry. In July 2020, President Trump signed an Executive Order on “Lowering Prices for Patients by Eliminating Kickbacks to Middlemen”. Historically, rebates have been paid on prescription drugs by manufacturers to pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) and Part D plans. The order allows manufacturers to provide those discounts directly to consumers resulting in a forecasted 30% savings.
2021: The Biden Administration
President-Elect Joe Biden has expressed that solidifying key elements of the Affordable Care Act and ensuring access for those with pre-existing conditions is a primary goal of his administration. This legislation will evolve and continue to provide the most popular and successful components of the ACA while incorporating key legislation that has been passed during the current administration’s tenure. These most notably include the rule requiring health insurers to disclose price and cost-sharing information and ending pharmacy benefit manager drug rebates to insurers.
While politics may be so divided in America, the Affordable Care Act will continue to evolve. We can only hope politicians will work together and compromise to make decisions that will benefit Americans in 2021.