Thanks to our friends @caravus for providing us with the following update on the Affordable Care Act repeal bill yesterday:
“Members of the U.S. House today passed the American Health Care Act (AHCA), which would repeal and replace most of the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) taxes and subsidies. By a narrow vote of 217 to 213, the measure moves to the Senate. GOP leaders could only afford to lose 22 votes and still pass the bill.
House Speaker Paul Ryan called off a planned vote on March 24 due to a lack of support, which led to several amendments being drafted over the past few weeks.
The latest bill includes an amendment by Representative Tom MacArthur (R-N.J.) that would allow states to obtain waivers from federal mandates covering certain essential health benefits, including emergency services, maternity care, and mental and substance abuse services.
In addition, the amendment would permit states to obtain waivers allowing insurance carriers to charge higher premiums based on a person’s “health status”, if the state had a program in place to pay the largest claims or offered a high-risk pool for sick individuals to purchase health insurance. While the amendment garnered support from the House Freedom Caucus, who were instrumental in blocking the planned vote last month, many members were wary of supporting a measure that could be construed as backing away from a pledge to protect those with pre-existing conditions.
To gain confidence in the measure, Representative Fred Upton (R-MI) proposed adding $8 billion over five years to help individuals with pre-existing conditions afford their insurance premiums and other out-of-pocket costs. The $8 billion would only be available to states seeking waivers to remove ACA regulations banning insurance carriers from charging higher premiums for those with costly pre-existing conditions. States could use the money to establish high-risk pools or similar programs to help shift costs from those with expensive medical conditions to the government.
Even with the AHCA’s passage in the House, its future in the Senate is uncertain. Caravus will continue to monitor the situation and provide you with important updates on health care reform legislation.”