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Leavitt Partners Health Reform Bracketology Analysis Considers Impact Of U.S. Elections On The Affordable Care Act

SALT LAKE CITY, Oct. 30, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- With the 2012 election a week away, Leavitt Partners today released analysis that shows the critical impact the elections will have on the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Hanging in the balance is the execution of federal health reform as determined by the White House, Congress, statehouses and America's private health care system. Major public policy decisions pertaining to health insurance exchanges, Medicare benefits, Medicaid expansion and insurance reforms are all on the table as Americans place their vote.

"Rarely do elections present so many divergent health care scenarios that are all plausible and critically important," said Leavitt Partners President and CEO Rich McKeown. "The implementation of federal health reform affects one-fifth of the American economy and collaborative, high-value intelligence is enormously useful."

The analysis is drawn from a product of Leavitt Partners called Health Reform Bracketology. The firm utilizes a bracket approach – much like that used in sporting events – to consider how various election scenarios impact public entitlement programs, insurance market reforms, insurance distribution and payment, and delivery reform. The election variables include who wins the White House and which party controls both houses of Congress. As a companion piece, an anonymous survey of industry leaders, congressional members, Capitol Hill staffers, current and former administration officials, and policy experts from differing ideological perspectives share predictions about how election outcomes impact central features of federal health reform.

The majority of participants in the most recent survey believe the following:
  • Exchange enrollment — If the current political make-up persists, only half of the states that choose to establish their own exchange will be ready for plan enrollment by fall 2013. This has enormous implications for states as they seek to control their destiny and for the federal government with a significant workload to implement the law.
  • Medicare changes — Regardless of who wins the presidency, if Congress remains divided Medicare will still be modified through costs-sharing, benefits and/or age. Panelists concur that economic pressures will cause entitlement reform to occur under any election scenario.
  • Medicaid expansion — If Gov. Romney wins the White House with a split congress, at least 10 or more states will not expand their Medicaid programs. This will have a significant impact on insurance coverage.
  • Medicare premium support — If Republicans sweep the election, legislation will pass for Medicare premium-support. It is also likely that Republicans will use Congressman Ryan's plan as a blueprint for broader Medicare reforms.

Leavitt Partners developed the analysis under the consultation of the Leavitt Partners FuturePanel, a diverse group of health care thought leaders who have shaped and continue to shape the future of American health care (see a list of members below). The panel is not unanimous in their opinions. This diversity of thought is reflected in the findings, as well as survey data included in the analysis. The result is a very measured, pragmatic and balanced analysis of what the future could hold.

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