Fitch: Political Bickering Over PPACA Only Hurts Healthcare Industry

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act has been the law of the land for more than three years. Yet as some Republicans lawmakers in Congress and in state governments continue their efforts to take down President Obama's healthcare reform law, it will only "bear negative implications" for hospitals, physicians and all other areas of the U.S. healthcare sector, according to Fitch Ratings analysts.

Yesterday, in a cloture vote, the Senate voted to move forward with the House's spending resolution to fund the government. Within the resolution, House Republicans inserted language that tied the federal budget to defunding the PPACA. However, the Democrat-controlled Senate has the ability to amend the legislation and remove any provision to cut off PPACA funding.

In addition, many state governments are "hindering the ability of individuals to enroll in health plans offered on the insurance exchanges," according to Fitch's article.

Fitch said the expansion of private health insurance and Medicaid under the PPACA, which is expected to add 19 million Americans to the insured population over the next two years, will benefit the healthcare industry that has had to endure upfront costs from the law. For example, Medicare cuts to hospitals, the medical device excise tax and pharmaceutical fees have dug into the healthcare industry's profitability.

The political posturing could "dampen the early benefits of expanding health insurance" under the law, Fitch analysts said.

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