How does the country's economic future look as we peer over the edge of the "fiscal cliff"? Will Congress take action and avoid the expiration of tax cuts and sequestration? And how will all this impact the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act? These are questions that every financial leader should be pondering. A legal and a legislative expert offered their thoughts on what may happen next.
Mark E. Lutes, a healthcare attorney with the national law firm Epstein Becker Green and William C. Oldaker, a member of the Washington, DC–based consultancy National Health Advisors, discussed the post-election regulatory agenda in a webcast last week.
One of the most intriguing points which the pair agreed on is that, although the reelection of President Barack Obama would seem to protect the PPACA from additional scrutiny, the need for bipartisan support to prevent sequestration may spark additional changes to healthcare reform. While the PPACA cleared two significant hurdles this year—the Supreme Court's decision to uphold the law and the Presidential election—Lutes said there are more bumps in the road ahead.
"After those [hurdles], many thought it would be smooth sailing—the land of milk and honey for healthcare reform," said Lutes. "It will probably come as a rude shock to health reform supporters that portions of the ACA may not be out of the woods yet. There may not be a legislative majority for appeal, but issues could still arise because key elements of the ACA's axis could be a tempting target during deficit reduction discussions."