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Uncertain Fate Of Health Law Giving Health Industry Heartburn

By Kaiser Health News  
   November 21, 2016

Upending the health law plays havoc with a health industry that had invested heavily in strategies geared to the ACA's financial incentives.

This article first appeared November 21, 2016 on Kaiser Health News.

By Julie Rovner and Chad Terhune

Six years into building its business around the Affordable Care Act, the nation's $3 trillion health care industry may be losing that political playbook.

Industry leaders, like many voters, were stunned by the election of Donald Trump and unprepared for Republicans' plans to "repeal and replace" Obamacare.

In addition, Trump's vague and sometimes conflicting statements on health policy have left industry officials guessing as to the details of any substitute for the federal health law.

"It will be repealed and replaced," Trump said Sunday in an interview on CBS' "60 Minutes." At the same time, he vowed to preserve popular provisions of the law like ensuring that people with preexisting conditions can get insurance and allowing young adults to stay on their parents' health plans.

Charles (Chip) Kahn, chief executive of the Federation of American Hospitals, said that before the election, health groups had not been meeting with Republicans about a rewrite of the law "because the working assumption was we had a program that wasn't going anywhere. That working assumption is now no longer operative."

Upending the health law plays havoc with a health industry that had invested heavily in strategies geared to the ACA's financial incentives. The flipped script initially left some industry groups speechless. Others issued bland statements pledging cooperation with the next administration as they awaited greater clarity from the next president.

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Kaiser Health News is a national health policy news service that is part of the nonpartisan Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

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