House Passes Revised American Health Care Act

MAY 04, 2017
Jennifer Barrett, Assistant Editor
The Republican-drafted health care legislation known as the American Health Care Act (AHCA) narrowly passed in the House on Thursday in a 217-213 vote. The measure, designed to repeal and replace parts of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), includes last-minute revisions made after the first version failed to garner votes in March.
 
The bill has gained widespread criticism from Democrats, who oppose the overhaul of many ACA major provisions. Critics have also noted the Congressional Budget Office’s (CBO) report on the first AHCA draft that determined 24 million Americans would lose coverage under the bill. The CBO has not yet provided a full analysis on the revised AHCA. However, supporters argue that the new health bill will cut rising premium costs if approved.
 
One of the AHCA’s recent amendments includes an increase in funding to high-risk pools, which would provide $8 billion over 5 years for states to cover those with pre-existing conditions.
 
Some of the key provisions of the GOP bill include:
  • States will be able to opt out of certain ACA protections and would be given the opportunity to apply for waivers that allow insurance companies to:
    • Charge older adults more than 5 times what they charge young adults for the same coverage.
    • Eliminate coverage mandated under the ACA, such as maternity care, mental health treatment, and prescription drugs
    • Charge more for those with pre-existing health conditions. 
  • The bill would offer tax credits of $2000-4000 per year, depending on age, to replace the income-based tax credits and subsidies available under the ACA. Credits would be reduced for those making over $75,000 a year and families making over $150,000.
  • Insurers will be able to charge older adults up to 5 times as much as they charge young adults for the same coverage. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the provision could reduce premiums for young adults and increase premiums for older adults.
  • Individuals would no longer be penalized for failing to have health insurance coverage.  
  • The bill would also roll back Medicaid expansion and end Medicaid as an open-ended entitlement to health care. States would be given either an allotted sum of money for each Medicaid enrollee or be given a fixed-dollar block grant.
  • States would be given $138 billion over 10 years to use for subsidizing premiums, providing coverage to those with pre-existing conditions, and paying for mental health care and drug addiction treatment.
 The legislation will now move to the Senate for consideration.  
 

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