CA Health Exchange Girds for Uncertain Future

Doug Desjardins, December 5, 2016

The current open enrollment period won't be affected, regardless of what happens after the new administration takes arrives.

The policies of president-elect Donald Trump won't affect the current enrollment period for Covered California, but future changes are likely to impact the health exchange in California.

Despite the uncertainty, exchange officials are focused on the current open enrollment period that runs from November 1, 2016 to January 31, 2017, said Covered California Executive Director Peter V. Lee.

"We're here for the foreseeable future and we're the place to sign up," said Lee.

Covered California is projecting that 400,000 new members will enroll for coverage during the three-month open enrollment period.

Most analysts believe Trump is likely to follow through on earlier vows to "repeal and replace" the ACA, but it's still unclear how far those changes will go and what impact they will have on ACA funding.

"The debate is very much in flux and there's a lot of uncertainty about what's going to happen and about the timing," said Larry Levitt, vice president of the Kaiser Family Foundation.

"The conventional wisdom is that the new Congress will attempt to repeal the ACA starting in 2017 through some type of [budget] reconciliation strategy," Levitt said.


Future Uncertain for CA Healthcare Reform Under GOP


Levitt and other policy experts said they expect changes to the ACA to be incremental, unfolding over the course of two or three years. Republican majorities in both houses of Congress could expedite changes to the ACA.

"Many of the changes could be passed through budget reconciliation, which only requires 51 votes in the Senate, a majority of the House, and the president's signature," said Anthony Wright, executive director of Health Access California.

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