The bottom line
These policy ideas popular among conservatives could certainly push health insurance costs down for some — like those with few healthcare needs and reliable income — but they also would undoubtedly offer fewer benefits to those with low incomes and high healthcare costs.
“The value of the policies that insurers are offering is going to go down under all these options,” Blumberg said. “They’re going to end up attracting the higher needs population and they can’t sustain that.”
Hospitals would see significant revenue losses if millions lose coverage under repeal of the ACA and are unable to afford new coverage under the replacement plans the GOP has put forward. Some executives have warned they would have to cut vital services, such as behavioral health.
A report prepared for the American Hospital Association found that hospital revenues would decrease nearly $400 billion between 2018 and 2026 with ACA repeal. The plans put forward by Republicans would barely dent that projection, experts say.
Hospital revenues are projected to decrease by $400 billion between 2018 and 2026 under ACA repeal, according to the AHA.
The leaders of the American Hospital Association and Federation of American Hospitals have written to President Donald Trump asking him not to repeal the ACA without an adequate replacement.
“Losses of this magnitude cannot be sustained and will adversely impact patients’ access to care, decimate hospitals’ and health systems’ ability to provide services, weaken local economies that hospitals help sustain and grow, and result in massive job losses,” they wrote. “As you know, hospitals are often the largest employer in many communities, and more than half of a hospital’s budget is devoted to supporting the salaries and benefits of caregivers who provide 24/7 coverage, which cannot be replaced.”
Republicans continue to debate whether, how and when to replace the ACA. Just as the reform law had major impacts on the industry, the process of finding alternatives will have significant consequences as well.