Health Experts Consider a Post-ACA World

February 2017, Vol. 38, No. 3
Paperback, 12 pp.
PDF, 348 kb
Employee Benefit Research Institute, 2017

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Executive Summary

With the election of President Donald Trump, no domestic policy is a bigger target for change than the Affordable Care Act (ACA), former President Obama’s signature health insurance law. His very first executive order, signed within hours of being inaugurated, was aimed at rolling back parts of the ACA.


But how, exactly, is the law likely to change, and how will this fundamental policy shift affect the U.S. health care and health insurance systems?


Those questions were explored by a panel of health and policy experts at EBRI's 79th policy forum held in Washington last December, attended by more than one hundred people.


The short answer, as the new administration was taking shape: Nobody knows. But whether it’s a “repeal and replace,” as many congressional Republicans have advocated ever since the law was enacted in 2010, or “repeal and delay” or “partial repeal” or “repair” (as some are now suggesting) or just “repeal,” it seems certain that change is on the way.


Among the experts speaking at the EBRI policy forum:



  • Randy Hardock, a partner at the benefits law firm of Davis & Harman in Washington, DC, and a former Treasury Department official.
  • Katy Spangler, senior vice president of health policy at the American Benefits Council, which represents large employers.
  • Kris Haltmeyer, vice president for policy at the Blue Cross/Blue Shield Association.
  • James Gelfand, senior vice president for health policy with the ERISA Industry Committee (representing the nation’s largest employers).
  • Carolyn Smith of Alston & Bird, who previously served on the staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation in Congress.
  • Katherine Hayes, a Medicare/Medicaid/health reform specialist with the Bipartisan Policy Center.
  • Leah Binder of the Leapfrog Group, representing medium-sized and large ployers.
  • Paul Fronstin, director of the Health Research and Education Program at EBRI.
  • Jeanette Thornton, head of ACA policy development for America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP).
  • Robert Graboyes of the Mercatus Center at George Mason University.
  • Gene Steuerle, a tax expert at the Urban Institute.
  • Tom Miller of the American Enterprise Institute.