After marathon committee sessions, both the House Ways and Means and House Energy and Commerce Committees advanced the “American Health Care Act” on March 9. The bill will now advance to the House Budget Committee, and is expected to go to the floor for a full vote by the end of the month. ANCOR staff is working to evaluate the bill as it stands after amendments made in the committee markups. In the meantime, a high-level summary of the bill is attached below.
Though House leadership is committed to moving quickly on the repeal bill, they are facing opposition both from moderate Republicans who are concerned over the cost and the loss of coverage for constituents, as well as more conservative Republicans, who feel anything less than full repeal is unacceptable. Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) said the AHCA would be “dead on arrival” in the Senate, though his colleague and fellow Senator from Kentucky Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has promised that the Senate will take decisive action to advance the bill and repeal the ACA.
The Congressional Budget Office is expected to come out with a cost estimate of the bill early next week. Top lawmakers, HHS Secretary Tom Price, and the Trump administration have gone on the offensive to manage public perception, saying that the CBO has a history of inaccurately scoring legislation. White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said, “If you’re looking to the CBO for accuracy, you’re looking in the wrong place.” Democrats insist that lawmakers should have the CBO score in hand before additional action is taken on the bill.
Causing even more challenges for Republicans backing the AHCA are industry groups and national organizations that have come out strongly against the AHCA. The American Hospital Association, AARP, American Medical Association, and America’s Essential Hospitals have all issued statements criticizing the legislation. The Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities, a coalition of more than 100 national disability and aging organizations of which ANCOR is a member, has also come out in opposition to the bill, stating that the drastic Medicaid funding cuts that will entail from it would prove disastrous to people with disabilities.
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