Anne Barounos: A few birthday gift suggestions for the ACA | SteamboatToday.com

Anne Barounos: A few birthday gift suggestions for the ACA

On March 23, the Affordable Care Act celebrates its eighth birthday. The administration's efforts to significantly remake the Affordable Care Act of 2010 are on hold. This is a dramatic turn of events that not many anticipated when Republicans took control of the White House and Congress after seven years of hammering on ACA repeal. So, what now?

Currently, all the ACA's benefits and requirements stand. President Donald Trump and Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price have bitterly criticized the ACA. But the debate is over for the time being, and the Trump administration is left running a government responsible for implementing the law.

What would it look like for the administration to run the ACA effectively? And could the administration do this right and bestow a few gifts on the ACA on its eighth anniversary of existence on March 23?

As we all are aware, the ACA is not perfect — far from perfect. I have a couple of birthday gift suggestions to make the ACA more in line with its original intentions.

  • Encourage more states to launch the basic health program.
  • Encourage the 19 remaining states to expand Medicaid.
  • Let Medicare negotiate drug prices.
  • Merge rating areas statewide.

There are potential political consequences to just allowing — or, in fact, pushing — the ACA to fail at this point. According to recent Kaiser Family Foundation polling, 59 percent of the public believes that the president and Republicans in Congress are now responsible for any ACA-related problems moving forward.

So in much of the public's view, particularly now that the Congressional debate has stalled, Mr. Trump and his cabinet (whatever remains) are responsible for America's health care. This includes our own Sen. Cory Gardner who has worked hard to unravel the good parts of the ACA.

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These gift suggestions would benefit American citizens, and the ACA just might survive the abuse it has received from the current administration. A few nice birthday gifts just might help it see many birthdays on the horizon.

Anne Barounos

Steamboat Springs