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We have all heard the news in the last couple weeks. Repeal. Replace. Golden Benchmark is up to date on the ACA news, the legislative process, and the current back and forth between both federal parties. Here is a quick, stress-free summary of the current drama:

Repeal

Congressional Republicans are mobilizing legislation to repeal President Obama’s signature piece of legislation by means of a “Budget Reconciliation”, which is a legislative procedure designed to allow consideration of a budget bill limited to twenty hours, making reconciliation bills immune to filibuster in the Senate. Republicans can use the reconciliation process to repeal Obamacare with a simple majority.

One of the big quirks in the Senate is the filibuster. Any of the 100 senators in the US Senate can enact a filibuster by taking up, at length, the floor of the senate until the Senate must retire. The filibuster can be effectively used to keep a bill from being voted on. It requires 60 votes to stop a filibuster. Because a reconciliation bill is limited to twenty hours of debate, it cannot be filibustered.

Long story short: Senate Republicans can repeal the Affordable Care Act. They can do it without the filibuster, which is pretty much the only legislative power the Democrats have left. Rest assured, any repeal of the Affordable Care Act will occur years down the line, likely in 2019 or 2020.

Replace

Here is where the waters get much murkier. While Republicans can repeal the Affordable Care Act rather easily, they cannot replace the Affordable Care Act without the 60 votes required to break a Senate Filibuster. With the current Senate party breakdown (52 Republicans, 46 Democrats, and 2 Democrat-leaning Independents), the Republicans cannot pass an Obamacare replacement without the requisite 60 votes.

So, unless there is some serious bargaining or defection from both major parties, there is likely NOT going to be an Affordable Care Act Replacement anytime soon.

The Future

Whatever the future holds, we likely don’t know. There is so much uncertainty surrounding the future of the ACA that our best bet is to continue to gather around the facts before we jump to conclusions. Golden Benchmark will continue to monitor the legislative storm surrounding the Affordable Care Act in the months to come.

Translation: We believe the ACA is not going anywhere soon.  Interestingly, Golden Benchmark hasn’t had too many clients calling in to ask about the future of the ACA. Have we gotten lucky, or the storm just starting to rumble?

If you did have any questions about the ACA, the future of the ACA, or anything about health insurance in general (particularly if you’re interested in group health), please do not hesitate to call us at (510) 818-9877, visit us at goldenbenchmark.com, or email us at roy@goldenbenchmark.com.

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