The polls may suggest that the White House will remain occupied by an Affordable Care Act proponent next year, but that hardly means that the health law will get the fixes its supporters say it needs to survive or improve in the long-term.
While Democrats are projected (but by no means assured) to win control of the Senate, Republicans will most likely maintain control of the House, meaning they will still be able to block the expansions of the ACA Hillary Clinton has promised if she takes the election on Nov. 8.
Short-term measures to provide additional funds to insurers that are struggling to stay afloat on the marketplace will likely be tough to get through Congress. Long-term policies that Clinton has proposed, including allowing those over 50 to buy into Medicare early or establishing a “public option” insurance program, are even less likely to go forward.
“We shouldn’t hold down great expectations for significant change,” Robert Reischauer, one of the public trustees of the Social Security and Medicare trust funds, said on Tuesday, according to The Hill.
There are certain things a Clinton administration will be able to do without the help of Congress. It can continue efforts to boost enrollment in Healthcare.gov plans, with the hopes of getting more young people to sign up for insurance and improve the risk pool that has made it challenging for insurers to turn a profit in the ACA marketplace.
In what is likely good news for a potential Clinton administration, the Department of Health and Human Services recently revised its projected enrollment figures for 2017, pushing the anticipated total to 13.8 million, up from 12.7 million.
For supporters of the ACA, the hope is that the additional 1.1 million enrollees will be largely healthy millennials who finally signed up in order to avoid increasing penalties for going without coverage.
A separate analysis by Standard & Poor’s projected that 11.7 million and 13.3 million would sign up for ACA plans in the upcoming open enrollment period, which begins the first week of November.