Passed in the House on May 4, 2017
The American Health Care Act (AHCA) passed in the House of Representatives on May 4, 2017. The Republican-sponsored bill aims to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Under the AHCA, Medicaid expansion would be rolled back, and its status as an entitlement program would end. Instead the House Bill calls for Medicaid providing states with block grants or an allotment for enrollees. The taxes imposed on the wealthy, insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, and manufacturers of medical devices that were included in the ACA to help subsidize health care costs for low-income people would be removed under this new health care bill. This could result in billions of dollars in tax cuts for the rich, without any additional assistance for the poor.
Other changes include basing tax credits to help pay for insurance on age, instead of income. Additionally, the bill removes the individual mandate and offers fewer protections for the elderly and those with preexisting conditions. The bill will also allow states to apply for waivers to opt out of certain ACA provisions, such as essential health benefits. Under the AHCA, Planned Parenthood will no longer be eligible for federal reimbursements. The Congressional Budget Office did not have time to evaluate the latest version of the bill, but its previous assessment estimated 24 million people would lose their insurance coverage if the AHCA became law. LEARN MORE HERE and HERE
Several organizations have spoken out against the healthcare bill. AARP warns that the elderly will be significantly impacted under AHCA by receiving less financial assistance from tax credits and increasing how much they will spend on healthcare. AARP estimates the elderly could be spending up to five times more on health care than young adults. Research done by Avalere Health found that the measures in the AHCA designed to help states cover those with preexisting conditions will not be enough to cover even a third of those on the individual market with preexisting conditions. The American Medical Association criticized the House for passing a bill that will make insurance unaffordable for millions.
There is a lot of speculation that the bill will not pass in the Senate. Sen. Lindsey Graham appeared suspicious the bill passed with little scrutiny and several senators asserted that the Senate Republicans would not pass the House bill and would be crafting a Senate bill, instead. With only a 52 Senator majority, the bill would only require 50 votes to pass, assuming Vice President Pence would break the tie.
- Contact your Senator – the AHCA bill now moves to the Senate for a vote, call your Senator and tell them to vote no. TIPS
- Stand With Planned Parenthood – check out and get involved with the number of ways to support Planned Parenthood as they fight to keep offering accessible and affordable health services.
This brief was compiled by Elizabeth Kiefer. If you have comments or want to add the name of your organization to this brief please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.