House Committees move forward on ACA repeal

By Lisa Kaplan Howe, PCG Senior Advisor, and Tom Entrikin, PCG Manager

The House took a major step in advancing action on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) with the filing of the American Health Care Act. The bill, which was filed in the House of Representatives on March 6, 2017, is a compilation of budget reconciliation packages from the House Ways & Means Committee and the House Energy & Commerce Committee, in follow-up to the budget resolution adopted in January.

The bill does not repeal the ACA in full, but rather proposes changes primarily to the ACA’s insurance affordability, Medicaid expansion, coverage requirement and revenue provisions. It also proposes changes to Medicaid funding more generally. On the other hand, the bill leaves many other ACA provisions (insurance consumer protections, Exchanges and enrollment provisions, delivery system reform provisions, Medicare provisions, to name a few) largely untouched. The administration has said that action through budget reconciliation will be followed-up with changes through administrative actions and non-budget legislation.

While informative as the starting point for the official debate in Congress over repeal of the ACA, the bill is likely to change throughout the legislative process. The bill also faces a number of challenges: divisions in the Republican party regarding Medicaid Expansion and tax credits; Senate rules regarding what can be included in budget reconciliation legislation; and the newly-released CBO score, which projects significant increases in uninsured rates and increased premiums at least in the near-term. 

For more information about the American Health Care Act, click here for a comprehensive overview of this initial legislative proposal created by PCG subject matter experts.