CBO Estimates Senate Bill Would Leave 22M More Uninsured

From Akin Gump: The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) this afternoon released its cost estimate of the Senate’s health care bill, the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA), projecting that the legislation would increase the number of uninsured by 22 million in 2026 relative to the number under current law. This is slightly fewer than the number of uninsured estimated for the House-passed American Health Care Act (AHCA). CBO also estimates that the BCRA would reduce federal deficits by $321 billion over 10 years, $202 billion more than estimated net savings for the House bill. According to the Senate Budget Committee, below is a brief summary of the changes that were made to the previous draft: Conforming amendments to Sec. 106 – Changes made to better align the purposes of stability funding to the underlying CHIP statute. Adds a new Sec. 206 – Starting in 2019, individuals who had a break in continuous insurance coverage for 63 days or more in the prior year will be subject to a six month waiting period before coverage begins.  Consumers will not have to pay premiums during the six month period. Redesignates Secs. 206-208 to Secs. 207-209, to accommodate for the new Sec. 206 on (more…)

House Passes American Health Care Act (AHCA)

The House this afternoon voted 217-213 to pass the American Health Care Act (H.R. 1628), as amended. The bill now heads to the Senate where it will be up for intense debate. The AAA will continue to monitor this legislation as it makes its way through the Senate. The House also voted 429-0 to pass a bill (H.R. 2192) from Rep. Martha McSally (R-AZ) that would eliminate a congressional exemption from health care changes. The exemption was included in AHCA to comply with budget reconciliation rules. Two key amendments were added to the healthcare bill in order to ensure Republican support, the Upton Amendment and the MacArthur Amendment. These amendments were two of the more substantial changes to the bill since it was originally introduced. The AAA is currently working on drafting a detailed overview of this legislation and will distribute to members once completed.  

ACA Repeal and Replace Update

Congress returns to Washington next week, and House Republican Leadership maintains an ambitious agenda to pass the American Health Care Act (AHCA) despite an unclear path navigating its moderate and conservative factions. President Trump, who refuses to let health care reform disappear from the agenda, is especially eager for a victory, and today predicted AHCA would pass within the next few weeks. During the in-district work period these past two weeks, the White House, House Leadership and Republican committee staff have kept conversations going with the two disagreeing factions within their caucus – the moderate Tuesday Group and the conservative Freedom Caucus. At this stage, there appears to be no agreement within the Republican Caucus, and there are varying reports on how close are discussions. The wild card is whether President Trump and his team can help force a deal. As soon as a deal materializes, the House will move the bill to the floor. In addition to health care, the discretionary aspects of the Federal government are under a temporary continuing resolution which expires at the end of next week. An effort is underway to pass a measure that will fund the government through the remainder of the 2017...

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ACHA Update – High-risk Pool Amendment

The House Rules Committee met last week to consider a new amendment to the American Health Care Act (AHCA) to establish a federal risk-sharing fund and appropriate $15 billion for a high-risk pool program from 2018 to 2026. The amendment, which aims to reduce premiums for those with pre-existing conditions, is sponsored by Reps. Gary Palmer (R-AL) and Dave Schweikert (R-AZ), both members of the House Freedom Caucus. Washington Post: “GOP House leaders say health bill tweak shows progress, but larger divisions remain“ The program is reportedly modeled after a successful initiative in the State of Maine. The federal government would run the program initially, but each state will have the ability to take over the high-risk pool after three years. The amendment represents one area of limited agreement in the broader AHCA debate. Conservative House Members are likely to support it to the extent it shifts authority and funding to the states to help keep premiums down, and moderates are likely to support it because it would add a layer of protection for individuals with pre-existing conditions. It is unclear whether the level of funding appropriated will be sufficient to meet the need, however. The development is not evidence...

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Status of the American Health Care Act

Today, citing “growing pains” of his Republican majority, Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), in consultation with President Donald Trump, determined not to proceed with a planned vote on the American Health Care Act (AHCA), which repealed and replaced important elements of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).  The Speaker indicated that the House Republican Caucus “came up short” in the number of votes needed for the bill.  House Republican Leadership had been moving AHCA through the Chamber at a rapid pace.  The bill was officially released on March 6, and had been changed several times to try to appease various conservative and moderate voting blocs within the Republican Caucus.  The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) originally estimated the bill would reduce federal deficits by $337 billion, and subsequently downgraded the deficit reduction to $150 billion based on additional substantive policy changes to the bill.  The CBO estimates the bill would have increased the country’s number of uninsured by about 24 million people. In negotiating the provisions of AHCA, the House Republican Leadership had faced a constant seesaw, as efforts to appease one ideological bloc upset the other.  Ultimately, throughout the day in advance of the scheduled vote, an increasing number of moderate Republicans,...

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