Health care policy expert weighs in on Cassidy plan to replace ACA

Health care policy expert weighs in on Cassidy plan to replace ACA
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NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - In mere hours, Donald Trump will shed the title of president-elect and will become the nation's new leader and over-hauling the federal health care reform law is very high on his list of priorities.

"Certainly, we've very concerned about 20-plus million Americans potentially losing insurance, that would be a real public health problem," said Mollye Demosthenidy, J.D., a clinical associate professor in Tulane University's School of Public Health.

While Trump has promised to repeal and replace the law which was President Barack Obama's signature piece of federal legislation, the incoming president has not laid out all the minutiae of what he wants to accomplish.

An AP/NORC poll found that more than 4 in 10 republicans, democrats, and independents said they want the government to do something about the problems with the Affordable Care Act and a proposal put forth by Louisiana senior Sen. Bill Cassidy, a physician, is getting a lot of national media attention.

"We want people off of government plans onto private plans," said Cassidy, R-Louisiana.

The plan involves taking funds states receive from the federal government for health care and allow them to use it for tax credits for eligible residents.  It also involves catastrophic major medical coverage.

"The option that I favor, that I think is best based upon my experience working in the Charity Hospital System is a tax credit that goes to the patient herself which she can then use to purchase the coverage she wishes to have and in that way she has ultimate control," said Cassidy.

His plan also repeals the mandate which allows for tax penalties for people without health coverage.

"People hate that. Washington D.C. should not be telling us how to live our lives," the senator stated.

Demosthenidy, a health care reform and health care policy expert said a lot is hanging in the balance as no one knows exactly what will be involved the new health care law Trump promises.

"One of the lesser known pieces that's not being talked about as much is that Affordable Care Act created and funded what's known as the Prevention and Public Health Fund," she said.

She said it funds billions in health care services for local communities.

"Programs that address chronic disease, that address the opioid epidemic, that address obesity, that address lead poisoning, the things that kind of hang in the background that affect the everyday Americans' health, we need to see those funded," Demosthenidy stated.

Sen. Cassidy insists the repeal and replacement must be simultaneous.

"I think they have to occur together and the way you repeal sets up your replace," said Sen. Cassidy.

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