January 06, 2017

Health Care Reform Tops Agenda for New Congress

With Republicans soon to control Congress and the White House, the newly sworn leaders of the 115th Congress seem intent on making good on President-Elect Donald Trump’s promise to repeal and replace the Affordable Care and Patient Protection Act (ACA), the foremost social welfare initiative for Democrats in the eight years of the Barack Obama presidency.

Members of the 115th Congress were officially sworn in on Jan. 3 by House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Vice President Joe Biden. Then, in a move that is sure to set the tone for the remainder of the next two years, Congress took the first steps toward dismantling ACA — commonly called Obamacare — with the introduction of a budget resolution with reconciliation instructions, which will be the primary legislative vehicle for repeal. Lawmakers hope to complete the budget resolution process by Jan. 27. Policy recommendations contained in the budget resolution will then be debated in both Houses of Congress starting with the House of Representatives.

The president-elect and the House Republicans have voiced support for popular components of the ACA, such as allowing children to remain on their parents’ health insurance plans until the age of 26 and prohibiting insurance companies from charging more to patients with pre-existing conditions. Many details of a Republican replacement plan for Obamacare have yet to be determined.

The American College of Radiology government relations staff is well-positioned to monitor the progress of Congressional health care reform deliberations and their impact on radiology. Look for their reports and analyses in future issues of Advocacy in Action eNews.