Healthcare Provisions Explore Options for Vote
Below are the latest elements senators could vote on, either as part of the underlying bill or as amendments.
Some senators favor a proposal to largely repeal the Affordable Care Act, with a two-year expiration date so lawmakers can craft a replacement. Some feel this would create chaos in the insurance markets; others could allow a vote on the measure.
Another provision being considered allow insurers that sell plans complying with the ACA rules – like the requirement that certain services be covered—to also sell plans that don’t. Their position is that this would drive down premiums by letting people buy cheaper plans. Critics say premiums would rise for older people or those with pre-existing conditions.
The Senate bill would significantly cut Medicaid money to the states, and would phase out the enhanced ACA funding where 31 states expanded Medicaid. One proposed amendment would use funds from the ACA’s taxes to help some people who lose Medicaid coverage.
An early version of the bill repealed some but not all of the current health law’s taxes. Taxes on generous employer plans and on prescription drugs would be repealed, but to pay for some of the bill’s provisions, it would retain an investment income tax and a payroll tax.
Debate focuses on the bill’s relaxation of ACA regulations. One measure would let states opt out of many regulations, such as the rule that insurance plans must cover certain services. The bill would also end the requirement that most people pay a penalty if they don’t have coverage. Other requirements would likely stay, like that protecting people with pre-existing medical conditions.
This bill is likely to retain but change the ACA’s strategy of providing tax credits to help lower-income people afford coverage. More people would be eligible for the credits based on income, but the size of the credits would be smaller. Amendments are likely to be offered on the nature and scope of the credits.
Resource: Wall Street Journal – 7-25-17