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Affordable Care Act Repeal Passes U.S. House of Representatives

04 May 2017 3:55 PM | Anonymous

Today, Congress passed the AHCA repealing the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) with a partisan vote of 217-213. The bill will go to the Senate.  It is expected to be amended in the Senate.

The legislation would offer tax credits instead of subsidies to pay for health coverage.  It allows states to opt out of basic requirements established by the ACA, including essential health benefits, coverage for preexisting conditions, etc. It requires states to provide high risk pools to cover those with preexisting conditions, if the state chooses to opt out and offers some funding that could be used to help pay for that and health services not covered. 

The legislation changes the current cost equalization formula, allowing premiums to be lower for young people and higher for older adults.  Medicaid would no longer be funded according to beneficiaries’ needs – it would be paid on a per member basis or states could accept a limited block grant for their program.  Kansas state officials have been talking about a Medicaid block grant for over a year, hoping that would help them to eliminate the annual cost increases to the program.  (It is not clear how annual health care cost increases would be managed if the funding does not grow at a comparable rate.)

The legislation attempts to encourage policyholders to avoid lapses in coverage by requiring a 30% surcharge when policies lapse.  (This, of course, assumes that people have some choice in whether or not their policies lapse.)  

The bill will repeal the payroll tax and investment tax increases on higher income payors that were designed to help pay for the ACA.

Kansas delegation in U.S. House unanimously votes for partial Obamacare repeal, http://cjonline.com/news/local/2017-05-04/kansas-delegation-us-house-unanimously-votes-partial-obamacare-repeal

Read an article about what is in the AHCA legislation  https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/04/us/politics/major-provisions-republican-health-care-bill.html?_r=0



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