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Outright Obamacare Repeal Unlikely, Professor Robert Field Tells the Media

Professor Robert Field

November 11, 2016

Despite President-Elect Donald Trump’s vow to repeal and replace Obamacare, the law is not likely to be entirely abandoned, Professor Robert Field said in media interviews following the presidential election.

While the stakes are high in a potential repeal, some provisions of the complex Affordable Care Act are so embedded in the health care system that they are not likely to disappear, Field said in a Nov. 9 article in the Philadelphia Inquirer.

"There's a lot in there that would be very difficult to suddenly do away with, and that large chunks of the health-care industry would not want to do away with," Field said, alluding to experimental programs designed to lower costs and improve quality of care.

In his own blog in on Nov. 10, Field detailed an array of roadblocks that could prevent an outright repeal of the controversial law.

“In fact, it would be virtually impossible. The ACA is intertwined into the fabric of our health care system,” Field wrote, citing the Medicaid expansion that included 32 states that accepted federal funding to augment their programs and add seven million people to the rolls of the insured. Six million more young people received health care insurance by staying on their parents’ policies.

Field added that since the ACA includes provisions for student loans and generic versions of specialty drugs, repeal would make medical school less affordable for students and disrupt the biotechnology market.

If the federally funded expansion of Medicaid that resulted from the law is reversed, Field told WHYY’s Newsworks on Nov.10, “safety-net hospitals and pediatric hospitals rely on Medicaid for their revenue, and they could be seriously impacted.”

A Nov. 9 article in The Street focused on the many uncertainties about the future of Obama’s signature legislation.

"Nobody has come up with an alternative to ACA that will cover the very sick," Field said, adding that "if you are in an exchange plan and you are sick you should be concerned."