Trump as president-elect: What this means for ACA compliance

After a long election cycle and a seemingly longer night, the country finally has a President-elect. On Jan. 20, Donald Trump will assume the role of commander in chief, and if he holds true to his campaign promises, the Affordable Care Act will be one of the first concerns he addresses.

For those who have been waiting for the repeal of the Affordable Care Act since its inception, it’s still too early to celebrate—and definitely too early to put aside your 1095-Cs for the 2016 reporting season.

Here are three reasons why you should continue your ACA reporting as usual.

1. “Repeal and replace” would be more of a transition than a jump. Trump has been clear that he intends to repeal and replace the law, but that may be harder than his campaign has made it seem. While it is certainly possible to reform the law, the ACA is so expansive and far-reaching that simply repealing the law overnight would be impossible. This law interacts with so many others (ERISA, COBRA, HIPAA) that it will take a good amount of time and careful consideration of the repercussions before the country transitions—not jumps—to a different plan.

2. Passing laws takes time. The House and Senate will need to ratify a law change before passing it to Trump for a sign-off. Even with a friendly legislature in his corner, this would take time—and we still don’t know how friendly Congress will be, considering his rocky relationship with a number of Republicans who pulled or refused to defend their endorsements.

3. The current filing year will already be underway before Trump takes office. At least for this year, the Affordable Care Act and its ensuing penalties are very much in play. Failing to gather data, distribute the proper tax forms, and proceed normally in the wake of this presidential election will still cost you big time in the end.

Laws do not change when the president takes office. They must take the usual, legal path, which will ultimately take time. Until President-elect Trump and his staff offer more clarity on their goals for the Affordable Care Act and actively begin working toward its repeal, proceed as normal. The first portion of 2016 ACA reporting is still due on Jan. 31.