A majority of CPA senior business executives would like to have the Affordable Care Act repealed and replaced, according to a new poll by the American Institute of CPAs.

The first-quarter AICPA Economic Outlook survey found 61 percent of respondents said they preferred “repeal and replace,” while another 10 percent indicated they wanted to see the ACA repealed and not replaced. Eighteen percent said they preferred to leave the law as is. Ten percent aren’t sure which option they favor.

AICPA survey on repealing and replacing Obamacare

For the survey, the AICPA polled 930 CPAs who hold leadership positions such as CFO or controller in their companies. However, they were polled Feb. 7-22, 2017, before the Trump administration and congressional Republicans released their replacement legislation, the American Health Care Act, this month. The House is expected to vote Thursday on the AHCA.

No matter what happens with health care reform, an 80 percent majority of the CPA business executives polled anticipate some additional expense for their employer-provided health care plans this year, with 43 percent predicting a 6 to 10 percent increase and 26 percent forecasting a rise somewhere between 1 to 5 percent. Eleven percent of the respondents anticipate an increase of 11 to 20 percent. Similarly, 81 percent forecast an increase in 2018, although in a slightly lower mix than this year.

Companies are increasingly challenged by rising health care costs. “Business executives now cite ‘employee and benefit costs’ as the top challenge facing their companies, “ said AICPA managing director Arleen R. Thomas in a statement. “A year ago, that category was No. 6 on the list, and it’s clear health care costs are a major concern driving this upward shift.”

To contain health costs, 65 percent of the CPA business executives polled said their companies used higher deductibles for employees, while 49 percent indicated their companies used higher co-pays, and 41 percent said their companies use employer-sponsored wellness programs. Those three items were also at the top of the list for businesses weighing new cost-containment strategies this year. Other cost-saving strategies include health savings accounts and self-insurance pools.

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Michael Cohn

Michael Cohn

Michael Cohn, editor-in-chief of AccountingToday.com, has been covering business and technology for a variety of publications since 1985.