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House Passes American Health Care Act

5/16/2017
 
On Thursday, May 4, the House of Representatives passed the American Health Care Act (H.R. 1628), which repeals and replaces the Affordable Care Act (ACA), or “Obamacare.” The revised bill that was voted on in the House was passed with a slim majority. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has yet to officially “score” the measure so the exact cost (or savings) to the healthcare system as well as the number of people covered (or losing coverage) will remain unclear until CBO finishes its review. Key provisions from H.R. 1628 include:
 
  • Repeals the individual mandate
  • Modifies ACA premium tax credits
  • Reduces cost-sharing subsidies for low-income individuals
  • Continues to require dependent coverage on family plans until 26
  • Includes continuous coverage requirements
  • Allows states to opt out of Essential Health Benefit and Community Rating requirements
  • Adds funding for high risk pools for some individuals with pre-existing conditions who experience higher premiums
  • Allows states to implement work requirements for non-disabled Medicaid beneficiaries
 
A complete summary of the American Health Care Act, H.R. 1628, can be found here:
 
http://files.kff.org/attachment/Proposals-to-Replace-the-Affordable-Care-Act-Summary-of-the-American-Health-Care-Act
 
Senate Action on Health Reform
 
Many Senators have registered concern for the approach taken by H.R. 1628 with at least a dozen Republican Senators indicating that they could not vote for the House-passed legislation without significant changes.
 
The most direct legislative path forward for repeal/replace is to advance the measure under budget reconciliation, which would require a simple majority to pass, but could also invalidate many of the provisions from the House-passed bill (specifically those unrelated to revenue). Rather than take up the House-passed bill, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) established a working group of Senate Republicans with the stated goal of crafting a healthcare bill that could secure at least 50 Republican votes (the Republicans hold 52 Senate seats).
 
The Senate does not have a stated timeline for developing an alternative proposal.
 


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