ACA repeal: Why healthcare lobbies are unusually quiet as Congress acts

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Republicans are acting quickly to overturn President Barack Obama’s landmark legislation, but healthcare lobbyists haven’t put up much of a fuss for fear of getting on the “wrong side” of the new White House administration.

A fast-track repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act will lead to widespread chaos and millions of Americans losing health insurance coverage. But many healthcare executives and lobbyists haven’t put up much of a fuss for fear of getting on the “wrong side” of the new White House administration.

Republicans are acting quickly to overturn President Barack Obama’s landmark legislation, but The New York Times reported that the strongest message lobbyists have sent to lawmakers was a demand for the repeal of an annual fee that health insurance companies must pay to expand coverage under the law.

While not all healthcare groups are keeping quiet—the American Medical Association, for instance, has urged lawmakers to be cautious with their plans to repeal—industry groups that helped create the Affordable Care Act in 2010 are keeping a low profile, according to the publication.

Many healthcare execs “don’t want to get on the wrong side of the new administration or the Republican majority in Congress,” Kenneth E. Raske,  president of the Greater New York Hospital Association, told the NYT.

So instead of trying to stop the repeal, many lobbyists aim to help shape the replacement of it.

Part of the reason for the muted response, the publication noted, is that many of these same people were taken by surprise by the election of Donald Trump because they expected Hillary Clinton to win.

One person who is in a particularly awkward position, the NYT writes, is Marilyn B. Tavenner, chief executive of America’s Health Insurance Plans, the leading lobby for insurers. She worked for the Obama administration for years and led the work on the Affordable Care Act.

She has urged that Congress maintain subsidies for low- and moderate-income individuals through at least 2019 and eliminate the tax on insurers.