Déjà vu. It seems like just yesterday we were talking about the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and what changes that would bring to EMS. Although our new commander in chief made an unsuccessful attempt to repeal and replace the ACA there is still a promise of some sort of change on the horizon. But what does that look like especially for EMS?
You may have read a recent blog from Dr. Greg Mears on Healthcare Reform where he takes a high level look at both the ACA and American Health Care Act (AHCA) taking note of issues that are important to emergency care and EMS. In this post Greg notes that in reviewing the content and intent of the AHCA versus the ACA, there are clear differences in the approach. The ACA was a movement toward universal healthcare coverage with heavy involvement of the federal government. The administrative approach of the AHCA was to empower the individual, rather than government. The AHCA was also an attempt to limit the cost exposure to the government. By shifting the payer status from the government to the individual, the AHCA provided a way for the government to control its cost by moving any increase in insurance rates to the individual. If rates went up, the individual was responsible, not the government. Through this policy change, government would no longer be a direct payer for healthcare (other than Medicare).
So how does this impact emergency care and EMS, especially if the AHCA didn’t pass? Ultimately, regardless of how healthcare reform plays out, there are several forces that can be predicted. The new administration will not give up on their attempt to repeal and replace the ACA. This is because of the philosophical difference of the individual mandate, requirement for businesses to provide coverage and the uncontrolled cost of healthcare being placed on government.
It’s anticipated that the ACA will continue for the near future but with minimal administrative support from the new administration. Without adjustments and corrections, healthcare costs will continue to increase both for the individual and the government. It’s also anticipated that the administration will continue to work toward a new, more acceptable version of the AHCA. The concepts are likely to be the same; less government involvement, tax credits and waivers, and limiting governmental fiscal risk as healthcare costs increase. Regardless of your perspective, we must navigate these murky waters.
On Tuesday, May 16, Lisa Tofil, a partner in Holland & Knight's Washington, D.C., office and a member of the firm's Public Policy & Regulation Group, where her practice focuses on federal relations and policy in healthcare, emergency medical services and transportation issues, will address more than 600 EMS and Fire professionals at ZOLL SUMMIT 2017, our annual conference designed to bring together users and prospective users of ZOLL products, especially those focused on data. She provides strategic planning, advocacy and legal assistance to clients on a broad range of legislative and regulatory matters. A member of the firm's Healthcare & Life Sciences Team, which is one of the largest and most sophisticated in the United States, she has extensive experience representing state and national healthcare organizations, individual hospital and health systems, and prior to joining the firm, served in several in-house hospital senior government relations and legal positions. Earlier in her career, Tofil spent several years handling health and income security issues in the United States Senate. Tofil will share her knowledge on federal relations and policy as it relates to healthcare and EMS.
During this powerful keynote, Tofil will discuss the latest on the new administration’s ongoing plans to repeal and replace the ACA, and the potential impact that will have on the health care marketplace, stakeholders and patients. Find out how EMS providers may be affected by these changes and where EMS payment reform and emerging CP/MIH models fit into the changing landscape of health care.