Legal, Business and Policy Perspectives on Health Care Reform

On Sept. 20, the Center for Law, Health & Society at Georgia State Law held what has become an annual update on issues in health care access and cost in the United States. The presentation, “Health Reform Update: Taking Stock of Efforts to Repeal and Replace the Affordable Care Act,” focused on the landscape of health reform efforts and what might lay ahead, as well as the potential implication of these efforts on Georgia’s Medicaid program, health insurance markets and health care providers.

The speakers, representing legal, business and policy perspectives across Georgia State University, included Erin Fuse Brown, associate professor of law; William Custer, associate professor and director of the Center for Health Services Research at Robinson College of Business’s Institute of Health Administration; and Melissa Haberlen (J.D. ’11, M.P.H. ‘ 12), senior research associate with the Georgia Health Policy Center at the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies.

Describing the impact of the ACA and Republican efforts to repeal it, Fuse Brown said, “The number of people who are uninsured has dropped to a historic low of about 10 percent since passage of the ACA in 2010. Congressional bills to repeal the ACA could have reduced health insurance coverage by over 20 million people.”

Haberlen explained that, independent of Congress, the Trump Administration has begun to implement regulatory and administrative actions that negatively impact the ACA. “For example, the IRS issued a letter stating now it will process returns, even if the tax payer did not state whether they had health insurance,” she said.

Custer explained that states have been seeking Medicaid waivers. These waivers modify key provisions in the ACA and allow for state innovation, but states must still ensure that their citizens have access to comprehensive affordable care. “If the ACA is not repealed, it is likely that Georgia will expand and seek waivers as well,” Custer said.