News Source: The Future of Obamacare

Repealing Obamacare may not be as easy as the Republicans suggest, and replacing it has many risks and uncertainties, says Alma College Professor Tom Ealey.


TOPIC: Following the 2016 national election, the Republican Party will control the executive and Congressional branches of government in January, with a stated purpose of repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act. Thomas Ealey, professor of business administration at Alma College, argues that “repealing Obamacare may not be as easy as it sounds, and replacing it has many risks and uncertainties. Both parties agree the system needs reform; that is about all they agree on.”

SOURCE: Tom Ealey has four decades of involvement with health care administration, including extensive work with physician practices and long-term care facilities. He writes and lectures nationally for provider groups. His research interests include health care regulatory issues and compliance and health care quality failures. He can provide commentary on the future of Obamacare.


On repealing Obamacare:
“Obamacare is much more than a piece of legislation; it is now six years of regulation and innovation and is intertwined through the health care system. There has been much to like about the intentions of Obamacare, even if the design and implementation were often wretched. The latest regulations on Medicare physician payment run to 2,171 pages of complex and convoluted regulatory excess. Obamacare gets a good grade on intentions, but not so good on design or operations. Still, a full operational repeal is not possible; too many changes are ingrained into the system for a full repeal.”

On replacing Obamacare:
“The health care section of House Speaker Paul Ryan’s A Better Way plan lays out the key ingredients of any GOP or conservative health reform plan. Leading the list are Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) and the interstate sale of health insurance policies, neither of which are likely to provide the salvation promised. Health care markets do not work like the markets for buying a shirt, a car or a head of lettuce. The HSA idea may be overrated as a tool of salvation but good for the affluent.

“The interstate sale of insurance policies saves money only if the insurers underprice their products, and that can only happen for a few years before something bad happens. This is much like several of the ACA exchanges. I fear interstate sales will empower 1-800-Lousy-Policy companies, a consumer nightmare in the making. The replace program promises cost savings through consumer choice, a profound misreading of how consumers find and use health care.”

Story published on November 09, 2016