If you Google around using terms like “health reform,” “reconciliation,” and “sunset,” you’ll find some blog posts and news articles that suggest that some of the provisions of the health reform law will sunset in five or ten years. Apparently some think (or thought) that the modifications that passed via the budget reconciliation process–the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 (HCERA), which modified the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (PPACA)–are time-limited.
I asked John McDonough, author of Inside National Health Reform (which I reviewed earlier today) if there was anything to this. In turn, he spoke to a source in the Senate who confirmed that,
[T]here is no sunset on the provisions done via HCERA.
The only concern, which my source echoed, is that the insurance market reforms, because they were done via the HCERA, can also be eliminated in the future through the reconciliation process (a real threat if the Rs take WH, S + H in 2013). Other than that, no sunset concerns. [John McDonough, via email, 9/14/11]
Based on this information, I conclude that, except where explicitly specified in the law itself, none of the provisions of health reform will automatically sunset in five, ten, or any number of years.