Recently the Wall Street Journal stated the New England Journal of Medicine published an op-ed by President Obama in which he critiqued the Republicans’ strategy to repeal the Affordable Care Act, and then replace it at a future date. Obama stated, “This approach of ‘repeal first and replace later’ is, simply put, irresponsible – and could slowly bleed the health care system that all of us depend upon. If a repeal with a delay is enacted, the health-care system will be standing on the end of a cliff, resulting in uncertainty, and in some cases, harm beginning immediately.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) says the GOP will develop an ACA replacement plan soon after the repeal. The Wall Street Journal accounts that among inquiries about the Republicans’ probable repeal and delay strategy, McConnell said Congress will create a new health insurance system soon after repealing the Affordable Care Act. He stated, “We will be replacing it rapidly after repealing it,” adding, “There ought not to be a great gap between the first step and the second.”
From a fraud and abuse perspective, a repeal of the ACA could remove some of the powerful measures it granted to the government to combat fraud and abuse. Nevertheless, given the return on investment in efforts combatting fraud and abuse, providers should not expect a slowdown in these efforts nor should they expect any replacement to lack at least equivalent measures. Combatting fraud and abuse in healthcare delivery and payment has to date been a bipartisan issue.