On July 26, 2017, the Senate voted 45-55, against a repeal of the 2010 Affordable Care Act (ACA). The amendment to the American Health Care Act of 2017 (HR 1628) would have repealed major parts of the ACA over two years and did not include replacement plan. This repeal-only amendment would have rolled back ACA’s individual and employer mandates and several of the law’s taxes. In addition, it would have phased out the ACA’s optional Medicaid expansion and banned federal funding from going to certain abortion providers.
Next, the Senate is expected to take up what's being termed a "skinny repeal" bill. It would eliminate the individual and employer mandate penalties, the Medicaid expansion, the medical device tax, and possibly the health insurance tax. Senate leadership views this bill - if it garners the necessary 50 votes to pass - as a sign of action and a vehicle to conference with the House to attempt to come up with a bill that both chambers can pass and send to the President.
The BlueCross and BlueShield Association issued the following statement last evening, in anticipation that the Senate would consider such a bill:
“BlueCross and BlueShield companies are committed to ensuring that everyone, including those with pre-existing medical conditions, can obtain the healthcare coverage they need at a price they can afford. If there is no longer a requirement for everyone to purchase coverage, it is critical that any legislation include strong incentives for people to obtain health insurance and keep it year-round. A system that allows people to purchase coverage only when they need it drives up costs for everyone. Immediate funding for the cost-sharing reduction program also is essential to help those individuals most in need with their out-of-pocket costs, so they can access medical services. And dedicated funds must be provided to help pay for the care of those with significant medical conditions.
In order to ensure a stable individual insurance marketplace, any final legislation must include these crucial elements to avoid steep premium increases and diminished choices that would make coverage unaffordable and inaccessible.”
News and Media
August 3, 2017:
Senators Plan Bipartisan Hearings On Health Care
Dave Anderson, CEO of HealthNow New York, talks with Steve Inskeep about lawmakers' plans to hold bipartisan hearings on health insurance exchanges. NPR's Scott Horsley has details and analysis.
June 6, 2017:
What's next for the American Health Care Act
The Point of Health podcast features Donald Ingalls, Vice President, State and Federal Relations of BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York. The episode covers the latest updates on Republican's efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.