By Sabrina Corlette, Kevin Lucia and JoAnn Volk
This past week we’ve been thinking about Senator Ted Kennedy. Although the Affordable Care Act ultimately came to be called “Obamacare,” its primary advocate and visionary was probably the late Senator. He passed away before he could see his dream of comprehensive health reform come into fruition, but no person did more to get the ACA onto the President’s desk.
Now, in the wake of these stunning election results, the ACA – and Senator Kennedy’s vision that all people deserve health coverage – are in jeopardy. The President-elect and incoming Congressional leaders have pledged that repealing the law will a top priority. What they will replace it with – and how they will ensure that the 20 million people that gained coverage under the law will stay covered – is unclear. What we do know is that next year’s political leadership is likely to continue to rely on the private market as the primary vehicle for insurance for people under 65.
At CHIR, our focus is that private insurance market and our mission is to improve people’s access to affordable and adequate insurance by providing balanced, evidence-based research and analysis. In the wake of the ACA, we have used our platform to highlight how the law is working for people, but also where it could be improved.
While the ACA may not exist for much longer in its current form, our work at CHIR to advance our mission will continue. Through our traditional legal and policy analysis and insurance market case studies, we will analyze policy proposals at the federal and state levels and their consequences for consumers. Where a policy proposal could cause some to lose coverage or for that coverage to become inadequate, we will call it out. Where a policy proposal helps make coverage more accessible, affordable, and of higher quality, we will call that out, too.
And as we do so, we will keep in mind the words of the immortal Senator Kennedy: “For all those whose cares have been our concern, the work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die.”