What do the Midterms Mean for Obamacare?

In the aftermath of the 2014 midterm elections where Republicans gained control of the Senate and maintained control of the House, America is wondering what all this means for the Affordable Care Act. Junior Republican Senator Ted Cruz of Texas had already vowed to dismantle Obamacare once Republicans secured both chambers of Congress, but is that even a possibility?

In Bloomberg Government’s “After The Midterms, What’s Next?” special web conference, Peter Gosselin, Senior Healthcare Analyst with Bloomberg Government explained the potential impact the election will have on the Affordable Care Act. His prediction was that:

  • Republicans will not push for a full repeal of Obamacare because then responsibility for the fallout would be on their shoulders, rather than leaving the Democrats struggling to make the system viable
  • Republicans will strike down or otherwise defund portions of the ACA that they oppose, while supporting the elements that are favorable to both parties
  • The full-time designation used for the employer mandate will be raised from 30 hours to 40 hours
  • A 1-year delay of fines for both individuals and employers will be enacted (up to 23 million people qualify for an exemption, but the IRS is not yet ready to accept applications for exemption)
  • A lower premium, higher self-pay Copper plan will be introduced
  • The medical device tax will be struck down

Gosselin also noted that Republicans may try to discontinue the health exchanges, while maintaining select popular insurance regulations, such as the mandate to cover preexisting conditions. However, this would greatly affect the profitability of health plans because their client base would not be large enough to offset the additional costs associated with the regulations.

What do you think the impact of the November 4, 2014 midterm elections will be for Obamacare? Let us know your thoughts in the Comments section below.