On May 4th, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the American Health Care Act (AHCA) by a narrow, two-vote margin. All eyes are now focused on the Senate, which will review, debate and most experts agree, modify it significantly in a process that’s expected to last into June.
The National Association for Health Underwriters (NAHU) has assembled this list of key provisions of the AHCA and how they modify or eliminate provisions in the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Since Senate Republicans do not have the votes to pass the AHCA outright, they must use the reconciliation process, which generally means that they can only implement provisions of the AHCA that impact the budget. If a provision of the AHCA does not impact the budget, the Senate cannot consider it.
Over the next month or two, the Senate is expected to significantly change provisions of the AHCA to comply with reconciliation and because the sentiments of Republican Senators are on the whole more moderate than those of their colleagues in the House. The $64,000 question is: Can the Senate and House find enough common ground to craft a compromise version of the AHCA that both chambers will approve?
That is a big unknown. So don’t invest your time memorizing the AHCA in its current form – it’s going to change. And, until there is a president’s signature on new healthcare legislation, be sure to advise your clients that the ACA and all of its key provisions, such as the individual and employer mandates and penalties are still the law.