Last month, the U.S. House of Representatives narrowly passed the American Health Care Act (AHCA). The legislation would effectively repeal and replace key provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The bill, which the House approved on May 4, is based on compromises that were made after the original bill was pulled from the House floor in March. Two amendments helped bridge the ideological divide between the House Freedom Caucus and moderate Republican legislators. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) scored the House bill at the end of May.
In his Daily Journal article “Senate Faces Health Care Bill Hurdles,” partner Michael Parme discusses the key compromises in the House bill, the CBO’s report and the job ahead for the Senate to either approve or revise the legislation.
The MacArthur Amendment, introduced by Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-N.J.), allows states to apply for waivers regarding the ACA’s key provisions, including coverage for preexisting conditions. The Upton Amendment, introduced by Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mi.), creates a fund of $8 billion over five years for states that allow insurers to charge higher premiums to individuals with preexisting conditions. As it did with the original bill, the CBO again found that some 14 million more people would be uninsured in 2018 under the AHCA.
Parme wrote, “All eyes are on the senate. However, there is surprisingly little information to be gleaned regarding the extent of revision the Senate intends to undertake or how influential the CBO’s most recent report will be in shaping a Senate bill. On the other hand, there is little doubt that there will at least be significant revision to the version of the AHCA passed by the House.”
He concluded, “While the CBO’s report was likely disappointing for Republican lawmakers in Congress, it was predictably disappointing. It remains to be seen to what extent the CBO’s projections will slow the recent momentum toward repeal of the ACA.”