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Health, Wellness And The Affordable Care Act


President Trump vowed a repeal of the Affordable Care Act throughout his campaign and one of his first moves as president was seen as the initial step toward that campaign promise. But healthcare has fallen out of the headlines in the days since then, replaced by other issues.

But health policy analysts are watching things closely. Among them is attorney Barbara Zabawa, who heads the Madison-based Center for Health and Wellness Law. She also teaches health law at UW-Milwaukee.

A couple of months ago, she described the situation in “wait and see” terms. Now, with the first few weeks of the Trump Administration and the repeal of the Affordable Care Act underway, Zabawa explains what she sees for the future of healthcare. 

"There's talk about going from a universal coverage ideal to a universal access goal, so that everyone would have an access point to coverage, and it would be up to them to take that coverage" she says.

President Trump's executive order intending to weaken the Affordable Care Act places immediate pressure on stakeholders and Congress to make concrete decisions about healthcare in 2018. However, Zabawa says that at this point, "[There are] way more questions than answers." 

"I think that [Congress] will start putting forth bills as they have that tweak at some of the elements of the Affordable Care Act that could be improved," she explains. "I think they'll continue to [hold hearings] and I think that's probably a better approach-  to approach it more in a stepping stone manner."

The possibility of a reformed healthcare system provides the opportunity for individuals to take better charge of their health, Zabawa says. "I do think the current leadership would like to see individuals take better charge of their health, including adopting healthier lifestyles. But that has to be supported by the environment in which we live."

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Barbara J. Zabawa owns the Center for Health and Wellness Law, LLC a law firm dedicated to improving legal access and compliance for the health and wellness industries.  Barbara is also a Clinical Assistant Professor for the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee College of Health Sciences, Department of Health Services Administration.