Will health reform survive the election?

The survival of healthcare reform hinges on the election for president, only weeks away--and perhaps more importantly, if Republicans or Democrats will take the congressional seats.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has vowed to repeal the 2010 Affordable Care Act on his first day of office, Washington Post columnist Ezra Klein wrote in a Bloomberg column. Although he aims to repeal most of the health reform law, the Republican candidate said he would retain certain provisions, such as including covered children under 26 on their parents' health plans, as well as maintaining coverage for beneficiaries with pre-existing conditions. However, Romney would only maintain coverage for people with pre-existing conditions who have had continuous coverage.

To see a repeal go though, Romney would still need a filibuster-proof 60 percent Republican majority in Congress, as Jonathan Burroughs, president and CEO of The Burroughs Healthcare Consulting Network in New Hampshire, noted in a Hospital Impact blog post.

According to the New York Times' FiveThirtyEight blog, Obama has a 71 percent chance of winning with 50 percent of the popular vote and 48.8 percent of votes anticipated to go to Romney. The NYT also predicts Democrats will have a 87.6 percent chance of winning the Senate majority with 52.4 seats, compared to the anticipated 47.6 seats going to Republicans.

If President Barack Obama wins reelection, Americans can expect most of the 2010 healthcare reform law will be implemented in 2014, including health insurance exchanges, the phasing out of annual insurance limits, and protections for those with pre-existing conditions, according to the Healthcare.gov timeline.

The one key piece that differs from the original 2010 law is Medicaid expansion, which is now left up to the states with the U.S. Supreme Court's decision. So far, at least six states have rejected Medicaid expansion--Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina and Texas.

Yet, Obama, if reelected will still need the support of Congress to fund those provisions.

For more information:
- read Ezra Klein's column on Bloomberg
- read the HospitalImpact blog post
- check out the Healthcare.gov timeline

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