AIS Health Exclusive: Former Aetna CEO Talks About the ACA…and What Lawmakers Must Consider as They Repair or Replace It

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In an interview published in the Feb. 6, 2017, issue of AIS’s Health Plan Week, former Aetna CEO Ron Williams discusses the perils Congress faces in trying to fix or replace the ACA.

In a Feb. 6 interview with AIS’s Health Plan Week, former Aetna CEO Ron Williams weighs in on the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) flaws, and the perils Congress faces in trying to fix or replace it.

Once again, a fledgling presidential administration is in a position to rebuild the nation’s health insurance system. But given that politics generally trumps policy on Capitol Hill, lawmakers face many of the same problems that plagued the development of the ACA, Williams says. During sometimes heated debates in 2008 and 2009, Williams was a fixture at congressional hearings where he often served as the voice of the health insurance industry.

In an exclusive interview, Williams says health insurers must be given greater flexibility to build products that address the specific needs of a wide variety of consumers. “In a one-size-fits-all approach, we ended up with plan designs that are very comprehensive and therefore cost a lot. What we need are different types of insurance, some of which have copays, some that have coinsurance, but they need to offer a better first layer of coverage,” he says.

While the public insurance exchanges are at the heart of the ACA, Williams sees them as “an unnecessary intermediary,” and suggests a Medicare Advantage model would allow federal subsidies to be delivered directly from a health insurer to the member.

Williams is now chairman and CEO of consulting firm RW2 Enterprises, LLC, and is active in private equity as well as a director on corporate, public sector and non-profit boards.

Visit to read the interview in its entirety.

About Health Plan Week
Published since 1991, the weekly newsletter Health Plan Week provides timely, objective business, financial and regulatory news of the health insurance industry. Coverage includes new benefit designs and underwriting practices, new products and marketing strategies, mergers and alliances, financial performance and results, Medicare and Medicaid opportunities, disease management, and the flood of changes to the Affordable Care Act. Visit for more information.

About AIS Health
AIS Health is a publishing and information company that has served the health care industry for more than 30 years. AIS Health’s mission is to provide objective and relevant business and strategic information for health care executives, by developing highly targeted news, data and analysis for managers at health insurance companies, pharmaceutical organizations, providers, purchasers and other health care industry stakeholders. AIS Health, which maintains journalistic independence from its parent company, MMIT, is committed to integrity in reporting and bringing transparency to health industry data. Learn more at and

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AIS Health
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