Health Care Repeal Vote Scheduled

March 23, 2017

House Republican leaders have scheduled a vote for March 23 to repeal and replace much of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) with the American Health Care Act (AHCA). Leaders continue to work toward the 216 votes needed to pass the health care bill led by House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), and believe some of the changes they are willing to make and put forth on March 20 will help  secure additional support.

In fact, members of the Republican Study Committee—who have expressed serious doubts about the House’s health care bill—emerged from a meeting at the White House backing the legislation. However, at least 21 members of the House Freedom Caucus—led by Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.)—still oppose the House legislation and could potentially prevent the repeal plan from passing the House. Twenty-one is the maximum number of defections House Republican leaders can afford in order to still clinch passage of the bill.

In order to garner additional support for the measure, the House Republican leadership-backed manager’s amendment to the ACA repeal bill makes several changes to the legislation, including:

  • Giving states the option of establishing a work requirement for Medicaid recipients or choosing a lump sum payment instead of payments based on the number of enrollees.
  • Repeal of all of ACA’s taxes in 2018 instead of 2017 and moving repeal of the health law’s Cadillac tax from 2025 to 2026.
  • Setting up a fund to establish additional tax help for Baby Boomers aged 50 to 64 who would have seen their premiums spike under the original bill.
  • Immediately prohibiting additional states from expanding Medicaid. It would also “freeze” Medicaid enrollment at ACA levels on Dec 31, 2019, meaning new enrollees could not sign up at ACA payment rates.
  • Technical changes, some of which appear designed to avoid violating the Senate’s Byrd rule on a budget measure.
  • No longer allowing consumers to move leftover tax credits to Health Savings Accounts.
  • Setting a new Medicaid growth rate for aged and disabled populations.
  • Prohibiting the federal government from reimbursing New York State for payments made by counties.

Additionally, Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas) anticipates an updated Congressional Budget Office (CBO) analysis of the AHCA bill before the vote on March 23. The first CBO analysis estimated that the bill would result in an additional 24 million people being uninsured over the next decade.

On March 21, President Trump visited Capitol Hill in an attempt to seal House Republican support for the plan. During his meeting, Trump issued a stern warning, telling Republicans they could lose their seats — and the House majority — in 2018 if they fail to repeal and replace the ACA. If it passes, it will head to the Senate, where it faces an uphill battle.

Click Here to read the technical amendments to AHCA.
Click Here to read the section-by-section of the technical amendments.
Click Here to read the policy amendments to AHCA.
Click Here to read more a section-by-section of the policy amendments.
Click Here to read more about AHCA.