Trump's HHS nominee talks up ACA replacement plan at confirmation hearing
- Rep. Tom Price (R-GA), President-elect Donald Trump's nominee for Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS), told members of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee that the individual and Medicaid healthcare markets need immediate attention. Reporting on Price’s Jan. 18 confirmation hearing, SHRM says employer-sponsored health plans were hardly mentioned, even though employers cover 61% of all insured people in the U.S.
- SHRM says that when asked by Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), the committee’s ranking Democrat, about the ACA’s repeal forcing millions of Americans to lose health coverage, pay higher premiums and have insurers reject them because of pre-existing medical conditions, Price said he favored a replacement plan with high pool risks so that anyone in the individual or small markets with a pre-existing condition could get coverage.
- Price sponsored the Empowering Patients First Act, which would repeal the ACA and give age-based tax credits to those who purchase health coverage through the individual market. The proposal also supports health savings accounts.
With employers sponsoring most of the nation’s healthcare coverage, more discussion is warranted on how workplace plans would fare if the ACA is repealed.
In a letter to the House following the Senate resolution vote to repeal the ACA, SHRM appealed to lawmakers for “effective and responsible” reforms. These are keywords Republican lawmakers need to keep in mind as they formulate ACA replacement measures.
The global HR organization also wants assurances that lawmakers will allow employer-sponsored plans to continue operating under Employee Retirement Income Security rules. Employers will have to wait to see if more definitive plans for replacing the ACA emerge.