Hart Health Strategies provides a comprehensive policy briefing on a weekly basis. This in-depth health policy briefing is sent out at the beginning of each week. The health policy briefing recaps the previous week and previews the week ahead. It alerts clients to upcoming congressional hearings, newly introduced bills, regulatory announcements, and implementation activity related to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) and other health laws.


House Vote on AHCA Scheduled for Thursday

Republican leadership have scheduled a full House vote on repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) for this Thursday, March 23 – exactly seven years after the ACA was signed into law.

The announcement followed release of the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and the Joint Committee on Taxation’s (JCT) much anticipated scoring of the bill known as the American Health Care Act (AHCA). CBO and the JCT estimate that AHCA would lower the deficit by $337 billon over the next decade, but that 24 million more people would be uninsured by 2026 under the GOP plan. The increase in the uninsured rate would largely be due to changes to the Medicaid program and the elimination of subsidies to help purchase insurance, though approximately seven million fewer people would become uninsured by choice or because their employer declined to offer health insurance. Out-ofpocket costs would be higher under AHCA than they currently are under the ACA, and low-income people and seniors would also pay more for their health insurance under the proposal as originally written. Individual health insurance premiums would be 10 percent lower under the GOP plan by 2026, after an initial increase in premiums of 15 to 20 percent in 2018 and 2019. In addition, funding for the Medicaid program would be cut by $880 billion, or 20 percent, over the next decade. The CBO noted that it did not have time to produce a dynamic score of AHCA, which would have considered changes in the overall economy as a result of the legislation’s enactment. The White House pushed back against CBO’s estimates, arguing that the focus of the repeal plan is on affordable health care choices rather than coverage. Republican leadership has also pointed out that the score does not take into account the other phases planned for ACA repeal and replacement: regulatory changes and other legislation passed through regular order.

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