Yesterday, the House GOP released its plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA), colloquially known as Obamacare. Unlike the original draft released, this version doesn’t tax employer-provided plans, and allows employers to keep its tax exclusion for premiums paid on those plans.
Possibly most important is that the individual and employer mandates—which, according to HR Dive, were controversial aspects of the ACA—are now gone from this new draft, dubbed the “American Health Care Act.”
Two House committees will begin the markup process tomorrow on the two-part bill.
According to The Atlantic, the Congressional Budget office will determine the extent of how many Americans will gain or lose coverage under the new law, and the amount of spending or saving it would cause. The publication also provided a comprehensive analysis of it, concluding:
In all, the American Health Care Act is roughly a repeal of the Obamacare mandates, a steep rollback of current and future federal commitments to covering people via Medicaid, a replacement of the existing tax credit with one that’s less generous for low-income people but still applies to middle-class people, and a repeal of most of the revenue-generating taxes of the ACA. At first glance, it appears that the most likely result nationally would be a net loss of coverage and a decrease in insurance affordability for many people who are the most vulnerable, but at least some of that effect might be offset by some enhanced state Medicaid payment capabilities and the stability fund.
To get more specific, the AHCA would roll back the ACA’s commitment to provide Medicaid funding to what lawmakers call the “expansion population,” i.e. able-bodied, non-pregnant adults who qualified for the ACA based on income. The AHCA doesn’t automatically reduce coverage, but it ends the “enhanced federal medicaid assistance percentage,” which is when the government pays a majority share of Medicaid costs.
Furthermore, the new bill cuts just about all of the revenue-generating aspects of the ACA. The now erstwhile employer mandate to provide insurance (levied as taxes) is gone. Another provision is that the bill repeals the small-employer insurance tax credit from the ACA.
Sen. Rand Paul went off on a string of tweets voicing his concern with the bill, stating that it’s “Obamacare Lite” and that the plan keeps many aspects of the ACA but with rebranded terms.
It keeps individual mandate but makes you pay the insurance companies instead of the government
— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) March 7, 2017
We’ll continue to follow this story as it develops.