- Some Republicans are talking “repair” of the Affordable Care Act instead “repeal and replace,” Bloomberg reports, noting the concept was discussed during last week’s closed-door GOP policy retreat in Philadelphia.
- The word repair “captures exactly what the large majority of the American people want,” GOP consultant and pollster Frank Luntz said in an email exchange with the news outlet.
- Meanwhile, insurers warned they may not stick around in ACA marketplaces if the GOP doesn’t offer a replacement plan the April deadline for plans to decide if they’ll participate in 2018, according to The Washington Post.
As the flood of Republican demands to abolish the ACA slow to a more measured stream, the shift in language seems to be more of a rebranding than a signal of a new direction for the beleaguered law.
“The public is particularly hostile about skyrocketing costs, and they demand immediate change,” Luntz told Bloomberg. “Repair is a less partisan but no less action-oriented phrase that Americans overwhelmingly embrace.”
But it’s not a wholesale warming to a more measured “repair” approach. “To repair the American healthcare system, you have to repeal and replace this law, and that’s what we’re doing,” House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), said during a TV interview with Fox & Friends.
During his weekly briefing with the reporters, Ryan said Republicans would repeal and replace the ACA by the end of this quarter.
However, GOP lawmakers could feel pulled between keeping their pledge to bring down former President Barack Obama’s signature legislative achievement and not being responsible for millions of Americans losing health insurance is the law is repealed without a ready replacement.
In a Wednesday hearing of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) said Republicans may have to help foot the bill to keep insurers from exiting the market and leaving individuals without coverage, according to The Hill.
“Republicans are going to have to do some things we may not normally do, like cost sharing or reinsurance,” the senator said. “We may not like those things, but we may have to do those things for the next two to three years to make sure people can buy insurance.”
Marilyn Tavenner, president and CEO of America’s Health Insurance Plans, the industry’s main lobbying group, told HELP that continuation of premium subsidies and cost-sharing reductions through 2018 are needed to keep the market from deteriorating further, FierceHealthcare reported.
Other measures that are needed include recalibrating premium subsidies to get more young people to sign up for coverage, incentives for continuous coverage and federal funding for high-risk pools, she said.