On May 4, The U.S. House of Representatives passed the American Health Care Act (AHCA), which would repeal key components of the Affordable Care Act and replace them with a Republican counterpart. The bill has been almost universally panned by national associations for physicians, hospitals, elders, as well as advocacy organizations for patients with diagnosis-specific needs such as the American Cancer Society and American Heart Association. The National Rural Health Association is opposed to this bill, as is the American Medical Association and the American Hospital Association.
The bill is virtually identical to a version that failed to pass the House earlier this year, except for a provision that allows states to waive the prohibition on pre-existing conditions. Other changes the proposal would make could be expected to disproportionately impact areas with lower income and older populations. The bill was passed in a rush session during which most legislators admitted they had not read the entire bill. A summary of the bill’s key provisions can be found here.
The bill now sits in the Senate, where a task force of Senate Republicans is expected to conduct a full overhaul of the proposed legislation. Senate reconciliation rules require the chamber to wait for a score from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) prior to considering the bill. The CBO is expected to take around two weeks to score the new bill. The previous version of the AHCA was determined by the CBO to cause 24 million Americans to not have health insurance while significantly increasing premiums for individuals in the non-group market. Notably both bills include tax cuts worth approximately $600 billion.
Stay tuned as we wait for the CBO’s score of the revised bill and follow the Senate’s actions.