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Latest Changes to American Health Act Little More than a Fig Leaf

Latest Changes to American Health Act Little More than a Fig Leaf

The latest additions to the American Health Care Act (AHCA) will do nothing to cure its fundamental defects of breaking repeated promises from Congressional Republicans to protect people with pre-existing conditions.

House Speaker Paul Ryan pulled the AHCA from the floor in March because he didn’t have the votes to be sure of its passage. A “deal” (Meadows-McArthur amendment) during the Congressional recess made a bad bill worse, giving states an opportunity to seek a nearly automatic waiver from both the essential benefit requirements of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the requirements to charge persons in the individual market the same regardless of a pre-existing condition. This deal converted the resistant Freedom Caucus Republicans from a “no” vote on AHCA to a likely “yes” vote.

But centrist Republicans began to express opposition to the amendment as they returned from recess. The President and House Leadership have continued to “tweak” the bill to try to get to the magic number of 216 votes. This week the Upton-Long amendment surfaced with an offering of $8 billion to be added to the $130 billion AHCA for the states. If this money is to encourage states to create high risk pools, it is way short of the amount needed.

Republicans in the House can do all the backroom vote-trading they want; their bill will still harm most Ohioans because it not only guts essential benefits and pre-existing condition protections, it will result in the restoration of annual and lifetime caps on benefits, a very popular provision of the ACA.

Bottom Line:

  • 24 million more people would be uninsured by 2026.
  • Medicaid would be cut by $839 billion over ten years. Under the House bill, 14 million fewer people would be enrolled in Medicaid by 2026.
  • People who currently purchase coverage through the ACA marketplaces would see large increases in their premiums, deductibles, and other out-of-pocket costs.
  • High-income people would receive billions of dollars in tax cuts, averaging over $50,000 per year for people with incomes exceeding $1 million.

This isn’t what people in America want. It is time for the GOP to drop this crazed fixation on repeal and move on.