Opinion: Saving the ACA, One Step at a Time

Abandoning the Affordable Care Act, or replacing it with as-yet unspecified policies, is a long-standing goal of the majority in Congress and the man in the White House. To date, the Trump administration has used its authority to undermine key coverage provisions of the law, including shortening the window of time people have to enroll each year, reducing funding for outreach and public education, and stopping payments to reduce deductibles and copays for low-income families buying ACA plans, to name some prominent examples. The administration is also advancing plans that could greatly diminish protections for people with pre-existing conditions.

Congress has also done its part to undermine the foundational tenets of the ACA by repealing the tax penalty for those who do not sign up for coverage, beginning in 2019. The Congressional Budget Office estimated that the repeal of the individual insurance mandate will lead to an increase of about 10 percent in ACA premiums and increase the ranks of the uninsured by millions.

In a recent poll of New Jersey residents, my colleagues and I at the Rutgers Center for State Health Policy found that about two-thirds of respondents would want the state to continue the ACA in New Jersey if Congress repealed it.

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