Regardless of who wins, White House poised to release slew of ACA rules

Minimum coverage requirements, individual mandate regulations still loom

Within days of Tuesday's presidential election, the Obama administration is poised to release a raft of rules and regulations regarding some of the key provisions in the Affordable Care Act.

Until recently, the administration had been steadily releasing ACA rules and regulations, but that pace has slowed in an effort to avoid controversies ahead of the election, according to Politico.

However, HHS could begin releasing its backlog of directives and regulations as soon as Wednesday, given that states face a Nov. 16 deadline to decide whether they will implement a health insurance exchange—as required under the ACA—or defer to the federal government to operate one for them.

In addition, the administration has yet to issue final regulations on the ACA's:

  • Minimum coverage requirements for health plans that will be offered in the exchanges;
  • Individual mandate; and
  • Definitions of "part-time" and "full-time" workers with regards to the penalties that would be levied on employers that do not provide affordable coverage options.

Meanwhile, state leaders' looming deadline to indicate their positions on the health insurance exchanges may create some post-election challenges for the Obama administration, The Hill's "Healthwatch" reports, as the White House will have limited time to identify any conflicts of interest in private-sector partnerships.

Possible scenarios for implementation
Politico notes that if President Obama is re-elected, implementation of the various provisions is expected to continue as scheduled over the next several years, with Democrats "want[ing] the law put in place as quickly as possible."

However, if Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney wins in Tuesday's election, Obama administration officials would have to work quickly to finalize and issue the regulations because Romney's administration could halt any directives not in place by Nov. 22—60 days before Romney is sworn in on Jan. 20, according to Politico (Haberkorn, Politico, 11/5; Bolton, "Healthwatch," The Hill, 11/3).

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