At the AcademyHealth National Health Policy Conference in Washington DC, Senator Bill Cassidy spoke about the potential replacement of the Affordable Care Act and the options that the Republican administration is considering for the replacement.
At the AcademyHealth National Health Policy Conference in Washington, DC, Senator Bill Cassidy, R-Louisiana, spoke about a potential replacement of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the options that the Republican administration is considering.
“A recurring theme on the campaign trail was people saying care was forced on them that they did not need,” Cassidy told the audience. "So we decided to address that and realized that we need an integration of process, policy, and payment," he said.
With respect to process, there will be a budget reconciliation bill, which he said needs 51 votes to pass the Senate. He expects that the individual and employer mandates will be repealed. “Total repeal and replacement of the ACA needs a total of 60 votes to pass,” which would mean Republicans would need 8 Democrat votes. Next comes the second budget reconciliation bill, which will need comprehensive tax reform and has a 51-vote threshold.
“We have competing ways of what we want to achieve, compared with the ACA,” Cassidy said.
Providing insight on the various options that are being floated around for replacing the ACA, Cassidy highlighted a few key features about the plan developed by the House Ways and Means Committee:
Cassidy, who believes that states will be faced with a financial crunch, said, “They may not be able to carry on with one-fifth their income.”
He then presented the recommendations of the Patient Freedom Act, which he introduced with Susan Collins, R-Maine, last week. “Under our plan, states can choose between 3 options,” Cassidy said. These options include:
“Another feature of our plan is passive enrollment, which provides room to spread the insurance spend of high-cost patients in the population, rather than keep it concentrated,” Cassidy said.
Cassidy was quite confident about a replacement for the ACA—the question, of course, is, how soon will it happen?