Like you, I’ve been thinking about last week’s election results and what they might mean for health care in the United States, particularly when it comes to the Affordable Care Act (ACA). I’ve received questions from caregivers who are wondering whether the ACA will be altered or even repealed, and how any such changes might affect our patients and the communities we serve.
After a very long, emotionally charged campaign, the election has left many of us in health care anxious about what’s in store. I’d like to share my thoughts on how we’ll be advocating for those in need as the new administration sets its priorities in the weeks and months to come, as well as what we know won’t change as a result of the election—our Mission and our commitment to the poor and vulnerable.
Is a full repeal of ACA possible?
The short answer is that a total and complete repeal would be nearly impossible. Republicans maintain a slim majority in the Senate, but they do not have the votes needed to overcome Democratic opposition to a full repeal of the law. What Republicans do have is a road map for repealing significant parts of the law, even with a narrow Senate majority. Still, it is far too early to know what will happen given the complexities involved and the fact that major parts of the law are popular with voters.
Our external partnerships, strong relationships and ongoing advocacy will be critical moving forward, and we will continue to partner with like-minded partners to preserve the parts of the ACA that are working, especially those that brought health care coverage to millions who lacked it before.
The opportunities ahead—and our steadfast commitment to those we serve
While many things are uncertain, I know that Providence St. Joseph Health is well positioned as a leader in transforming health care so that it serves all people. While some policy proposals discussed during the campaign give us pause, many other ideas on the table hold promise, and our organization has both the opportunity and the duty to help shape the policies of the newly elected government. This gives me hope and renewed faith in the vision for the future our organization is pursuing—our work on behalf of the most vulnerable among us has never been more important.
As leaders in Catholic health care, our work as healers continues as we reach out to elected and appointed officials to make sure the voice of those we serve is heard loud and clear. We will keep working at the local, state and federal levels to advance policies that lead to improved outcomes for our communities. And no matter what happens to the ACA, our commitment to the poor and vulnerable will never waver.