House Republicans narrowly passed their long-promised Affordable Care Act repeal and replacement bill this Thursday. The American Healthcare Act barely scraped by with a vote of 217-213, with all 2017 "yes" votes coming from Republican Representatives. Although 20 Republican Representatives still opposed the bill, the revisions were able to convert 23 hard line conservatives into voting favorably. This proved enough for passage.
What is Trumpcare (the American Healthcare Act)?
This bill makes extreme changes to the American health care system. From a high level, what the bill aims to do is reduce restrictions on the level of care insurance companies are required to provide their beneficiaries. The result of this will be less expensive options for health insurance, but with significantly weaker overall coverage. As it stands, 24 million Americans will lose coverage under the American Healthcare Act, mostly from the proposed roll back of Medicaid.
Here are some of the changes included in the AHCA:
- Medicaid expansion will be rolled back over the next ten years.
- The tax penalty on uninsured individuals will be replaces with insurance companies being allowed to charge a premium for previously uninsured individuals.
- Beneficiaries still cannot be denied services for a pre-existing condition. However, insurance companies will be able to sky-rocket rates for beneficiaries with pre-existing conditions.
- Obamacare subsidies will be repealed and replaced by a tax credit system that provides individuals $2,000 to $4,000 per year based on age.
- Blocks federal funds from going to Planned Parenthood.
Some remnants of the Affordable Care Act remain, such as the ability for adult children (up to age 26) staying on their parent's insurance plan.
What Happens Next?
In order for the Affordable Care Act to be officially replaced by the American Healthcare Act, the bill still needs to pass through the Senate and the scrutiny of the Senate parliamentarian. The Senate Parliamentarian, Elizabeth MacDonough, will ultimately decide if the bill counts as a reconciliation bill. If it does, then only 51 votes are required to have the bill pass through Senate. Otherwise, it will require 60 votes, an unlikely scenario as it would require Senate Democrats to vote favorably.