While health care is not a top priority on the campaign trail and not top of voters’ minds this year, who wins on November 8 will impact the health care agenda in Washington in 2017. According to analysis presented in the Business Group’s special election year webinar earlier this week, even though Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump don’t offer many details about their health policy priorities, we can glean enough information from them and from Congress to make some predictions.
The clearest difference between Clinton and Trump is over the future of the ACA. Clinton has stated she would build upon it to further extend coverage to more people, provide greater subsidies to pay for coverage on the exchanges, and provide funds to stabilize rates and encourage insurer participation on the state exchanges. While Trump has been less detailed apart from stating that he would repeal the ACA, he has spoken favorably about Republican Congressional proposals that would retain popular provisions like insurance market reforms and allowing children to stay on their parents’ plans until age 26, but he would repeal the employer and individual mandates.
On whether to tax health benefits, a Clinton win and a Democrat-controlled Senate is probably the best scenario for maintaining the status quo. Key Democratic constituencies oppose the idea which has gotten some play by Republicans in Congress. Having said this, it’s unclear where Trump stands on this issue since it would amount to a tax on working Americans.
The repeal of the ACA excise tax on employer plans is likely to receive strong support regardless of who controls the Senate and who wins the presidency. Both Clinton and Trump have come out in favor of repealing it and there is widespread bipartisan support in Congress to repeal it.
View the members-only Election 2016: Toward the Finish Line webinar for more details and analysis about the election’s impact on employers’ health benefits and health care priorities.