House Republican ‘American Health Care Act’ Moves Ahead
Yesterday, the House Budget Committee advanced the House Republicans’ American Health Care Act (AHCA), with a vote of 19 to 17, with Democrats and three Republicans voting ‘no’.
The AHCA advanced despite the release of the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) score this past Monday, which estimates 14 million people would become uninsured in 2018, increasing to 21 million in 2020 and 24 million in 2026. The increases in the number of uninsured individuals are attributed repeal of the individual mandate in 2018 and further exacerbated by the capping per-enrollee spending and the loss of enhanced federal dollars for the expansion population.
The Trump Administration quickly sought to discredit the CBO score; Secretary Price’s statement can be found here. Meanwhile, House Republican supporters of the AHCA touted aspects of the CBO report, including estimates that the federal deficit would decrease by $337 billion, average premiums would decrease by 10 percent and federal Medicaid expenditures would decrease by $880 billion. However, while federal spending would decrease, the burden would likely be shifted to state and local governments. Also, while average premiums may decrease, the CBO predicted premiums would increase significantly for older Americans under the AHCA, which allows insurers to charge older enrollees five times more than younger enrollees.
The bill continues to face criticism from conservative Republicans, however for the bill to pass the House floor, only 21 Republicans can vote against the bill.
NACCHO drafted and is circulating a letter for statewide organizations and local organizations to sign on, focused on support for the Prevention and Public Health Fund and Medicaid funding. CHEAC will be signing onto the letter, which can be viewed here. Local health departments are also welcome to sign on. To do so, please use the following link. The deadline is March 31, 2017.