Chief federal strategist says ACA repeal could have a big impact on Medicaid expansion, insurance subsidies

January 18, 2017

Repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act (ACA) could impact core components of the health care law that involve revenue and expenditures, said Jay Himmelstein, MD, MPH, chief federal strategist at UMass Medical School’s Commonwealth Medicine division. He spoke as part of a panel on impending changes to health care reform held Jan. 18 at UMass Medical School.

“The major expenditures that could be attacked under this would be subsidies for the purchase of private insurance, which will affect 8 million folks, and the expansion of the Medicaid program, which could have a big impact here in Massachusetts,” said Dr. Himmelstein, who is also a professor of Family Medicine and Community Health and Quantitative Health Sciences.

The two-hour panel discussion featured introductory remarks from Terence R. Flotte, MD, UMass Medical School executive deputy chancellor, provost and dean of the School of Medicine, and U.S. Rep. James P. McGovern, D-MA. McGovern called on bipartisan leadership in Washington, D.C. to work together and come up with a plan that protects health care coverage for all Americans.  

The panel delved into the tenants of the ACA and its link to Massachusetts health care reform, as well as local and national implications of repealing and replacing the law.

“The overall goal of the ACA was to increase affordable coverage. In that regard it’s one of the most successful laws that Congress has ever passed,” Himmelstein said. “A minimum of over 22 million people are getting coverage through the ACA through subsidized coverage and Medicaid expansion.”

In addition to Himmelstein, the panelists included UMass Memorial Medical Center President Patrick L. Muldoon, MBA, ACHCE; Saint Vincent's Hospital President and CEO Steven MacLauchlan, MHSA; Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers President and CEO James W. Hunt, Jr., PhD; Center for Health Impact Executive Director Joanne Calista, MSW; Fallon Health President and CEO Richard P. Burke, MBA and Massachusetts Health and Hospital Association Vice-President for Government Advocacy Michael Sroczynski, Esq.

Himmelstein is a nationally recognized physician, health policy advisor, educator, and researcher specializing in Medicaid programs and health services for individuals with disabilities. He has also served as an expert consultant to the Social Security Administration and to the Institute of Medicine.

Commonwealth Medicine was integrally involved in developing, drafting, and implementing Massachusetts’ 2006 and 2012 landmark health care reforms, which embody many of the system delivery and payment reform principles included in the ACA. We also support hospitals, physicians, academic medical centers, payers, professional associations, and other health care organizations in implementing health policy changes that impact health care providers, plans, and patients. 

Our team has created alternative payment models, built the legal framework for reform initiatives, drafted Medicaid waivers, as well as designed and implemented pilots and demonstration projects that grew out of the ACA.


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