Industry players in the US have reacted pragmatically to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), according to research undertaken by Life Insurance International.
The reaction comes after the US Supreme Court’s recent decision to uphold the ACA, widely referred to as ‘Obamacare’.
Commenting on ACA, Leslie Levinson, chair of the Healthcare Practice Group at law firm Edwards Wildman Palmer, said: “Many had already accepted that change is coming, and whether the court threw out the law, in whole or in part, people were already moving in a direction to do things differently, recognising [as in the UK] that the way of delivering healthcare on a traditional basis has got to change.”
This view was echoed by Joseph Marinucci, a director at Standard and Poor’s. Marinucci said: “Health insurers have for the best part been focused on implementation and have generally been constructive. Obviously they’ve voiced concern, but over the past couple of years the bill’s been law, and for the most part health insurers are in a better position to clarify strategy and focus on near term operational priorities.”
Robert Zirkelbach, press secretary for American Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), the national trade association representing the health insurance industry in the US, said ACA expands coverage to millions of Americans, and “that’s a goal that our industry has long supported”.
However, he warned that the legislation also contains major provisions that will increase the cost of healthcare coverage for consumers and employers, “That’s the opposite of what healthcare reform is supposed to accomplish,” said Zirkelbach.
President Obama has said that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) means that from 2014 the 30 million Americans who do not yet have health insurance, will have access to “affordable” private health insurance plans, according to President Obama.
The legislation was signed into law in 2010, but opponents of the reform had argued that the law’s individual responsibility provision exceeds Congress’ power to regulate interstate commerce because it penalizes “inactivity.”
Republican Presidential contender Mitt Romney has vowed to act to repeal ACA – known as “Obamacare” if elected US president.