Affordable Care Act (ACA) - 2018 Midterm Elections

Is ACA Repeal Dead Following the Midterm Election?

Just two short years ago, the future of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was in serious doubt. But now, with Democrats taking back control of the House of Representatives after the midterm election, Obamacare's status as the law of the land remains firm.

The election arguably served as a sort of referendum on health care in America. Democrats ran hard on the preservation of key aspects of the ACA (e.g., pre-existing condition protections), which has enjoyed an uptick in approval since the presidential election in 2016, and that strategy appears to have worked. Exit polling showed that health care was the most important issue for voters in 2018, ahead of immigration and the economy, and the majority of people said they trusted Democrats more on health care.1

This represents a huge change from previous midterms, when Republicans gained Congressional seats by hammering Democrats on the ACA, promising to repeal and replace the landmark health care law. They had their chance over the past two years, but they could never get the entire caucus on board. And now, with Democrats regaining a majority in the House, Republicans' push to dismantle the ACA has come to a dead stop — at least for now.

The more pressing question is what exactly Congress could do to shore up the ACA in a divided Congress. A bipartisan push to reinforce the law's individual insurance markets fell through in 2017, but another deal could be on the agenda in 2019. Likewise, we could see bipartisan efforts around surprise medical bills, prescription drug costs and health savings account (HSA) contribution limits, among other issues.

Get an in-depth breakdown of the key health care policy questions presented by a split Congress in the on-demand webinar, ACA Q&A: Midterm Election Aftermath, featuring expert commentary on the particular impacts to employer-based insurance.

1. CNN